Our current Level II NICU provides care for newborns as small as 2.2 pounds and our on-staff neonatologist works closely with our highly trained NICU nurses and respiratory therapists to deliver the most sophisticated care in a technologically advanced and nurturing environment. Opening June 2018, our Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children will offer a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to provide specialty care for infants, even those less than 1,000 grams.
Parents are vital in the role of their baby’s care. When the Pavilion opens in June of 2018, our private NICU rooms will allow parents to stay with their infant as much as they want, 24 hours a day.
Prior to entering the NICU, all visitors must wash their hands in a special way. Maintaining clean hands is the best way to prevent the spread of infection to our littlest patients. Just outside the NICU area, there is a scrub sink with a video that explains how to properly clean your hands before entering. If you have any questions, please ask someone from our NICU care team.
Our preemies and at-risk newborns thrive in the comfort of our womb-like cradles. When the Pavilion opens in June of 2018, each baby will have his or her own private room with accommodations for parents to stay with their baby.
Special Care for NICU Babies
When you enter a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit you will see a variety of equipment and machines in the room. Depending on the needs of your baby, some of the equipment used in your baby’s care may include:
- Ventilator – a machine that helps babies breathe if they cannot breathe on their own. A tube will be placed in the baby’s nose or mouth to supply oxygen.
- Giraffe bed (incubator) – A clear plastic enclosed bed that helps keep babies warm.
- Heart monitor – Small leads (stickers with attached wires) are placed on babies to monitor their heart and breathing.
- Tube feedings – Some babies receive nutritional feedings through tubes in their nose, mouth, or through a tube placed in their stomach.
- Intravenous (IV) tubes – Babies may have an IV, central line or an arterial line that will allow fluids, medicine and sometimes nutrition to be given.
- Photo therapy – Sometimes babies may have jaundice (yellowing skin and eyes) and will be required to lie under bright lights for certain amounts of time until the jaundice has improved.
When Can My Baby Go Home from the NICU?
Before being discharged home, NICU babies must meet certain milestones regarding their weight, breathing, feeding, and temperature. Sometimes a NICU baby will no longer need intensive care but they are not quite ready to go home. Those infants may transfer to be with their mother on the Mother/Baby Unit. Other babies may have specific special needs but can be discharged home if certain requirements are met. Your NICU nurse will keep you informed about your baby’s progress and any special requirements he or she may need.