Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
New parents eagerly look forward to bringing their baby home, so it can
be frightening if your newborn needs to be admitted to the Neonatal Intensive
Care Unit (NICU). Understanding the NICU and what goes on there can help
alleviate your fears and allow us to better help you and your baby.
WHAT IS THE NICU?
If you baby is sent to NICU, your first question will be, 'What is this
place?' With equipment designed for infants and a hospital staff who has
special training in newborn care, the NICU is an intensive care unit created
for newborns that need specialized treatment. Toppel Family Place is a
level II intensive care unit, which treats critically ill or premature
babies. Babies who need to go to the unit are often admitted if they're
born prematurely, have difficulties during delivery or show signs of a
problem such as infection, breathing difficulties or feeding problems
in the first few days of life.
SERVICES PROVIDED IN OUR NICU
- Care of critically ill babies at or around 28 weeks or greater
- Nurses and respiratory therapist trained to level III NICU
- Doubled board-certified neonatologist in house 24 hours a day
- Pharmacy, social work, physical and occupational therapy as well as nutritional services
- Support groups and classes for parents
- Breast feeding support and equipment for sale or rental
- Local sub-specialty support as needed
- Participation in national research projects
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LEVEL I AND LEVEL II NICU?
The care given to our patients is exactly the same in both units and is
provided by staff who are trained to the same standard and using the same
equipment. The level III nursery provides some specialized technology
and cares for babies born at fewer than 28 weeks gestation.
WHO WILL BE TAKING CARE OF MY BABY?
Although there will be many people helping your child during the NICU stay,
those who are the most responsible for your baby's day-to-day care will
likely be nurses and neonatologist. You will come to know these nurses
and doctors very well and can rely on them to give you information and
reassurance about your baby.
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK?
To better help you help your baby during his or her time in intensive care,
it's a good idea to get as much information as possible about what to
expect. The nurses see your baby every day, so they can give you frequent updates.
Some things you might want to ask the neonatologist and/or the nurses include:
- How long will my baby be in the unit?
- What, specifically, is the problem?
- What will be involved in my baby's treatment and daily care?
- What medicines will my baby have to take?
- What types of test will be done on my baby?
- What can my baby eat and when?
- Will I be able to nurse or bottle-feed my baby and if so, when and how?
- What can I do to help my baby?
- Will I be able to hold or touch my baby?
- How often and for how long can I stay in the unit?
- What type of care will my baby need when we get home?
WHAT CAN I EXPECT IN THE NICU?
Once your baby is settled in the unit, he or she will receive care tailored
to specific needs. Most NICU babies are on special feeding schedules,
depending on level of developing or specific problems. Medications are
another crucial part of NICU care and to ensure that your baby's care
stays on track, the doctors may also order various tests. It is important
to us to make the infant's stay in the NICU as comfortable and stress-free
as possible for the whole family.
WHO AM I INVOLVED IN MY BABY’S CARE?
We are family-centered NICU which means we encourage active participation
by the parents and family in the care of your baby. We recognize that
we provide care for a short time, but that you and your family will care
for and nurture your baby for a lifetime. There is substantial research
that demonstrates the importance of parental hands-on care and touch in
supporting growth and development and decreasing the incidence of complications
Our lactation consultants and nurses will support the NICU mother and
baby in the decision to breast feed. It is important for babies in the
NCIU to have rest time and avoid over-stimulation. To ensure the optimal
environment for healing we have guidelines for visitation which will be
explained by your nurse. We work together toward the goal of taking your
baby home and providing the support you need. It is our pleasure to care
for you and your baby.