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Our team and NICU workers

A special relationship

Social workers based at Christchurch Women’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit play a very special role in caring for families and their precious little ones.

Chrissy, Claudine and Margaret are social workers who walk alongside families with a child in the neonatal unit (NICU), offering practical and emotional support for any issues that may arise.

NICU provides 24-hour care for newborn babies with a variety of special needs. This includes prematurity, surgery, congenital abnormalities and babies who may have been compromised at birth.

All newborn babies from around the South Island who require surgery come to NICU, making the unit very busy and often full.

Our Christchurch House team has a very close working relationship with the NICU social workers, as a third of the families we support have a baby receiving care in this specialised area of the hospital.

“To be eligible to stay at the Christchurch House, families have to live 100 kilometres away from the hospital,” says Chrissy.

“However we do apply for exemptions under exceptional circumstances, as we know mums need to be close to the hospital to feed their baby, Ronald McDonald House and the team are always so welcoming and accommodating to our families”

Margaret says, “Sadly we are dealing with more complex social issues, “While families are dealing with their own problems, they have the added pressure of having a baby in intensive care – it can be a real roller coaster of emotions.”

That is why Margaret says our Christchurch House is like ‘heaven’ for families when they first arrive.

“It is an incredible and nurturing place – families would have a much harder journey if you guys weren’t around. Our job would be so much harder,” says Claudine.

Despite the hardships these women see families facing on a daily basis, they, like our team, feel privileged to be part of the NICU journey.

“It is a real privilege to see the families go home with their little ones – we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Photo: Chrissy, Margaret and Claudine are social workers based at Christchurch’s neonatal unit. Their team works very closely with our Christchurch House to provide the best family-centred care for families.


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