Babies benefit from new home program

HITH for Babies
Pictured on the day of going home (L to R): Susan Christie (HITH Coordinator), Karina Clarke with baby Dixie and Anitha Radhakrishnan (Special Care Nursery RN)

The Hospital In The Home (HITH) program at Northeast Health has expanded to include the care of newborn babies. The innovative approach to caring for babies at home as a substitute for hospital-based care has been a collaborative effort between the HITH and Maternity.

The HITH neonate program is designed to deliver hospital care at home to babies transitioning home from the Special Care Nursery. Karen Oddie, Nurse Unit Manager of the Maternity Unit explains “the service is for babies who require that extra care and monitoring at home, for example having been born early or underweight”.

The baby remains admitted to NHW under the care of a paediatrician with the home acting as a virtual ward. Home visits are provided by qualified domiciliary midwives who report to the paediatric team. Babies who meet the criteria for admission to HITH transition home from Special Care nursery earlier with parents being provided with a reassuring safety net of specialised clinical support.

Karina Clarke from Wangaratta is one such mother happy to be taking her baby Dixie home with the reassurance of home visits for ongoing care. Having been born at the Mercy Hospital on 28th September, over five weeks prematurely, Dixie transitioned firstly to the Special Care Nursery at Northeast Health Wangaratta, and then to home with HITH support on 12th October.

Susan Christie, HITH Clinical Coordinator says “it has been pleasing to see the results of our work with the maternity unit staff result in twenty-three babies and their families benefiting from the program since its inception in June. The most satisfying aspect has been the overwhelmingly positive feedback and being able to help families take their babies home earlier in a safe and supported way.”