Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
The Winthrop-University Hospital Neonatal ICU (NICU) has class-leading outcomes in both overall survival and survival without complications in extremely premature babies when compared to the Vermont Oxford Registry Network (VON), one of the world's largest databases. This database includes information from over 800 Neonatal Intensive Care Units around the world, and is a highly-respected authority for the measurement of care and outcomes for high-risk infants.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a special nursery for babies who are born prematurely or have other medical problems, such as breathing disorders, infections or conditions requiring surgery. Babies may remain in the NICU until they are discharged home or transferred to the regular nursery.
The NICU is equipped to care for babies with problems that require the use of the most sophisticated technology and surgical intervention, when indicated. The special equipment is used to observe and monitor the babies closely, as well as to provide the correct balance of warmth, nourishment and, if necessary, oxygen in amounts carefully tailored to the special needs of each baby.
The staff of highly skilled specialists includes physicians, nurses and other professionals. Their care for the infants in the NICU ensures that each newborn receives personalized attention and the best possible care.
NICU PROFESSIONAL TEAM
- Babies in the NICU may require special monitoring and close observation for one or more of the following reasons:
THE BABY IS PRETERM - born before 37 weeks gestation. Premature babies are often very small and need to grow before they can go home. They can have breathing and feeding problems. Often, they have more than one problem because their systems are immature. Multiple problems are quite common.
THE BABY IS TERM - born between 37 and 42 weeks gestation. Term babies may have breathing problems, infections, seizures, feeding difficulties or heart problems, all requiring special care.
THE BABY IS POST-TERM - born at greater than 42 weeks gestation. Post-term babies may require special care for rapid breathing, as well as for possible infection or seizures.
Winthrop's team of specially trained NICU physicians and nurses care for babies in the NICU 24 hours a day. The team consists of the following:
- ATTENDING NEONATOLOGISTS: Physicians trained in pediatrics with additional specialized training in newborn infant care. They direct the medical care of the babies.
- NEONATAL FELLOWS: Physicians trained in pediatrics. They are currently undergoing specialized training in newborn infant care.
- PEDIATRIC RESIDENTS: Physicians in training to specialize in the care of infants and children.
- NURSE PRACTITIONERS: Registered Nurses who have completed an advanced degree and are licensed to perform medical procedures.
- REGISTERED NURSES: Professional nurses with additional specialized training in the care of premature and sick infants.
- CLINICAL NURSE SPECIALISTS: Registered nurses with advanced degrees. They are responsible for teaching parents and other nurses.
- RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS: Specially trained to care for babies who require oxygen or a respirator.
In addition, the NICU team includes physical therapists, social workers, discharge planning nurses, laboratory technicians and X-ray technicians.
We encourage breastfeeding since it is beneficial to the babies as well as the mothers. If it is not possible to breastfeed because your baby may not be ready to feed or not strong enough to suck from the breast, you can pump your milk and it will be given to your baby by tube or bottle. Winthrop has a Certified Lactation Consultant to answer breastfeeding questions. If you cannot, or choose not to, breastfeed, special infant formulas can be used for your baby.
Babies have special needs during their stay in the NICU. One need is for your baby to have contact with you once he/she is medically stable. Kangaroo care was specifically designed for sick infants requiring long-term hospitalization because these infants are unable to be fed or held by their parents. Kangaroo Care involves placing your diaper clad infant in an upright position on your chest for "skin to skin" contact. Studies have shown that there are many benefits for both parent and baby.
Your baby will be discharged from the NICU when he/she is healthy and all medical problems have been cleared. The nurses will teach you how to care for your baby, and written discharge instructions will be provided upon discharge. Parents are encouraged to attend the scheduled BABY CARE CLASS and INFANT CPR CLASS. A discharge planning nurse will assist in planning for any special needs. The Neonatal Collaborative Follow-up Program is also available, if needed.
SUPPORT FOR PARENT
Parents' special needs are also considered, with the staff aware of the impact that seriously ill newborn can have on the entire family. In addition to the Maternal Child Care educational programs and our Support Service Program, which offer individual counseling provided by a social worker or psychologist, Winthrop offers a Parent Support Group.
Parents are encouraged to visit their babies in the NICU as often as possible to get to know them and be involved in their care and sibling visits may be arranged through the NICU Nurse Manager. However, there are certain times and circumstances when visitation is limited. Please call (516) 663-2406 for more information.
Click here to visit NICU Knowledge.