23 June 2022

Dozens of premature babies are now able to go home sooner and be reunited with their families under a multi-million investment from the Andrews Labor Government.

The Neonatal Hospital in the Home (HITH) program provides new parents who have given birth at Werribee Mercy Hospital with acute hospital-setting care at home.
This trial-run of the program was funded through a $6 million Labor Government investment and is scheduled to run until August.

Since the program began in early February, 89 babies have been able to go home at least a week sooner, allowing parents and bubs to bond in a safe, familiar environment during those precious first weeks.
The program can care for up to 10 babies at any one time, with most being admitted due to a premature birth or baby weight monitoring – giving parents the support and confidence they need to care for their babies independently.

Families receive round-the-clock access to nursing and medical advice, with staff making up to five visits per day along with ‘check-ins’ available at a HITH clinic.

Offering this care at home also frees up more beds at the Werribee Mercy Hospital, which provides a huge benefit to the local community during this period of high demand.

The Victorian Budget 2022/23 included a $698 million package to deliver more hospital services within patients’ homes, through home-based and virtual care, delivered as part of the Better at Home initiative.

The investment will expand the program to help more than 15,000 Victorians access home-based care each year, as well as telehealth check-ups.

This is in addition to the $120 million that was announced for the initiative in the Budget 2020/21.

For more than 25 years, Victorian health services have delivered a range of services in the home and each year over 350,000 admitted bed days are delivered in the home, enabling Victorians to enjoy more convenient care.

Quote attributable to Minister for Health Martin Foley

“Offering hospital level care at home for premature babies means new parents can get back to their families sooner and feel confident that they are getting the care they need.”

Quote attributable to Member for Tarneit Sarah Connolly

“This program run by Werribee Mercy isn’t just a brilliant service provided to new parents, it’s also freeing up beds and providing a huge benefit to the local community at a time when they are in high demand.”