Why NICU Care Matters
When an infant arrives early, he or she must be protected and cared for in a warm, loving environment to allow the brain, lungs and other vital systems to continue developing. For example, the fetal brain triples in weight during the last trimester of pregnancy.
In addition to premature newborns, those who rely on our NICU include infants who have congenital or acquired health conditions—issues involving the heart, brain or intestine that require surgical intervention—and babies who may develop problems at birth, such as respiratory distress or infections.
For these children and their families, the NICU is not a room in a hospital, it’s their home away from home where they learn to care for and bond with their baby. On average, they stay for 21 days, and some may stay for up to a year.
The health outcomes that result—good or bad—last a lifetime.
Why a New NICU
Built in 1996, the current NICU has served us well and has allowed us to care for nearly 10,000 babies and their families. Recommended guidelines and best practices for parenting and health care have changed. As we continue to develop and learn from ongoing research, we want to provide the best for babies and families – private rooms.
Research shows that when infants require NICU care, having parents and family close by improves outcomes and speeds their recovery. As these families cope with one of the most difficult times in their lives, they require a peaceful, private environment.
In our current NICU, babies and their families are in communal wards with up to seven other families, spaced only 4 feet apart. There is no privacy, and light and noise are excessive.
In a redesigned NICU, each family would have a private room for:
- A protective, healing space for infants with adjustable, developmentally supportive lighting and sound stimuli
- A comfortable and supportive environment for parents and family members as they bond with and learn to care for their baby
- Mothers to nurse or engage in skin-to-skin care that facilitates neurological development and the critical mother-child bond
- Parents to sleep comfortably next to their child throughout the hospitalization
- A shield from exposure to the stress of other family situations nearby
We believe every infant deserves the best possible environment for healing and thriving within the loving embrace of family.