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SJHH / Health Services/ Women's & Infants'/ Special Care Nursery

Special Care Nursery

What this program does...

The Special Care Nursery cares for babies who need extra support and monitoring for a number of different health reasons. This can include babies who are born early (premature) or babies that have other health concerns requiring specialized care.

Depending on each baby’s specific needs, they may stay in the Special Care Nursery for anywhere from a few hours, up to several weeks if necessary. Each baby’s individual needs and plan of care are shared and discussed with his or her family on a regular basis.

The Special Care Nursery provides “Level 2b” neonatal (newborn) care. This means that we can provide care for babies who are born as early as 32 weeks gestation, and who require extra supports including respiratory (breathing) support, intravenous (IV) therapy, and other types of specialized newborn care.

We work in partnership with parents and families to provide care for babies who require care in the Special Care Nursery. Families are an important part of the healthcare team and we encourage families to participate as much as possible in the care of their babies.

“Care By Parent” rooms are also available to families whose babies are in the Special Care Nursery. Our team works with each family to determine when one of the “Care By Parent” rooms is needed.

How this program helps...

The Special Care Nursery cares for babies who are born here at St. Joseph’s Healthcare and require specialized newborn care. We also care for babies who are born at other hospitals, and no longer require Level 3 neonatal intensive care. These babies are transferred to St. Joseph’s Special Care Nursery to continue receiving specialized newborn care as they get closer to being ready to go home.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is designated as a Baby-Friendly organization. This means that we provide education and support informed infant feeding choices, and we support, promote and protect breastfeeding.

Your Care Team

The Special Care Nursery team is made up of Registered Nurses, Pediatricians, a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Social Workers, Unit Communication Clerks, Environmental Services staff, and several types of healthcare students and learners.  Learners include medical residents, nursing students and midwifery students.  Our dedicated Special Care Nursery team works together to provide compassionate patient focused care for babies and their families.

  • Kelly Fitzpatrick, Chief, Department of Pediatrics
  • Cailynn Bateson, Nurse Manager
  • Susan Alliston, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurses, Unit Clerks, Lactation Consultants, Social Workers, Medical Learners


Special Care Nursery, Tel: 905-522-1155 ext. 33255

Kimberley Ross, Nurse Manager, Tel: 905-522-1155 ext. 33582

Preparing for Your Visit

Having your baby admitted to the Special Care Nursery may be expected before you give birth, or it may be unexpected. The Special Care Nursery team is ready to provide care to all babies born at St. Joe’s, who may require extra support and specialized newborn care at any time. The healthcare team is here to support you, provide information and answer all of your questions.

Welcome to NICU

We ask that you do not bring any valuables with you as the hospital cannot be responsible for lost or stolen personal items. 


The Special Care Nursery is located at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton – Charlton Campus, on the third (3rd) floor of the Bishop Dowling Wing, next to the Mother Baby Unit.


Registration Procedures

Babies are registered when they are admitted to the Special Care Nursery.  

After Your Visit

A discharge plan is created for babies who are discharged home from the Special Care Nursery. Families are provided with written information that is reviewed with them by the Special Care Nursery team before going home.  This information includes follow-up appointments that may be required, as well as any other discharge instructions.

Additional Resources

We encourage you to do as much research as possible before giving birth. Below are some useful links to explore.

Getting Ready for Childbirth and Your New Baby

Canadian Pediatric Society

Hamilton Public Health