Babies are transported to the NICU in a heated, enclosed carrier called a transport incubator. Upon admission infants are weighed and measured; lab work, X-rays and procedures will be performed depending on your infant's condition. The time involved to admit and stabilize an infant may vary; therefore, you may not be able to visit your baby immediately after admission. We realize that this is a stressful time as you await news of your newborn's condition and we strive to keep you updated as the admission is completed.
After arriving in the NICU, your baby is placed in an open radiant warmer, which is a bed with an overhead heating system. It provides warmth and allows your baby to be seen and cared for readily. To regulate the amount of heat required, a temperature probe is placed on your baby's skin and secured by an adhesive pad. Please don't be surprised if your baby is not wearing clothes or a diaper. This special bed keeps your baby warm without clothes and allows our staff to continuously watch your baby's breathing and skin color.
As your baby grows and his or her condition improves, he or she will be moved to another type of bed. When a baby needs less assistance, they may be placed in an isolette – an enclosed carrier similar to the transport incubator. When a baby is able to maintain a stable, normal body temperature they will be placed in a bassinet or open crib.
Your baby's vital signs – temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure – are taken to see how he or she is managing in the new environment. We use monitors for constant observation of a baby's vital signs. These monitors will sound an alarm if there is a sudden change or problem with your baby, and our staff will respond to his/her needs. Sometimes, the alarms sound in response to a baby's normal movement or activity and do not indicate a problem. Our staff evaluates each alarm and acts accordingly.
Each infant admitted to the NICU will have an individualized plan of care based on his or her specific condition. Some of the procedures and equipment your baby may need during his or her stay may include the following: cardiac/respiratory monitor, oxygen saturation monitor, intravenous therapy (IV), Umbilical artery catheter (UAC), Umbilical venous catheter (UVC), ventilator or breathing machine, Percutaneous Central Venous Catheter (PCVL) also known as the PICC line, gavage feedings and phototherapy. The medical staff caring for your baby will discuss these issues with you if your baby's condition requires any of the above. We also will discuss your infant's plan of care during his or her stay in the NICU. We consider you an integral part of the plan of care and value your input into your baby's care.