Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
Countless factors can interfere with a healthy pregnancy and delivery. That is why Altru Health System has a team dedicated to supporting each unique childbirth experience. With extensive training and access to sophisticated equipment and technology, our neonatologists and other specialists are prepared to help mom and baby through high-risk situations.
Located in Altru’s Family Birthing Center, the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is:
- A 16-bed, Level III nursery, with four private patient care rooms
- Specifically designed to care for critically ill infants and assist with high-risk deliveries
- Furnished with a wide range of state-of-the-art equipment and services to produce the best possible outcomes for neonates
Altru also offers neonatal patient transportation services through Altru Care Flight, an air ambulance transport program serving our region. This air ambulance features sophisticated equipment and a critical care trained staff to escort our littlest patients where they need to go.
What Is a Level III Nursery?
The NICU is a Level III nursery designed to support newborns in need of specialized care, including:
- Babies born earlier than 32 weeks
- Babies facing critical illness
- Babies in need of respiratory support
- Babies weighing less than 1,500 grams (about 3.3 pounds)
Moms who experience complications during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby that will require time in the NICU. Specifically, factors that may cause a high-risk pregnancy include:
- Being pregnant with multiple babies at once
- Chronic medical conditions, such as bleeding disorders, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease and significant obesity
- Having a premature baby (born earlier than 37 weeks) during a previous pregnancy
Our Team of Experts
A range of experts in the Altru NICU offer mom and baby round-the-clock support.
Our Physician Call Group consists of three neonatologists who rotate coverage 24 hours per day, seven days a week.
If needed during the infant’s NICU stay, consultations are made with neurologists, ophthalmologists, audiologists, cardiologists, nephrologists, physiatrists, geneticists, surgeons and any other specialist who may be necessary. Consultations with neonatologists from tertiary care centers are also available.
Registered nurses (RNs), including some RNC-NIC (RNs certified in caring for neonatal patients) and/or transport nurses, are staffed in the NICU 24 hours per day, seven days a week. All nurses are certified in neonatal resuscitation and are trained to perform specialized procedures.
Respiratory therapists (RTs) also play a vital role in the day-to-day care of infants in the NICU. RTs manage ventilator settings and the oxygenation of the infants through the use of blood gas measurements. They are also trained in neonatal resuscitation and attend high-risk deliveries.
Lactation consultants work with mothers to encourage breastfeeding by:
- Teaching mothers how to effectively pump to keep their milk supply up while the baby is in the NICU
- Assisting with waking the baby, as well as getting and keeping the baby latched so mom can nurse as long as possible
Receiving Updates About an Infant
- To assist the NICU staff in maintaining confidentiality and patient privacy, information about the infant’s status can only be given to the mother and father/support person.
- If an infant’s stay is predicted to last longer than the mother’s stay, the mother and father/support person will be provided a toll-free telephone number they can call to obtain updates on the infant’s condition.
- Family members or friends must receive updates through the mother and father/support person.
- We request parents limit photography of their infant for confidentiality reasons.
- Please ask staff if you want to include them in any photography/videotaping.
Altru’s Family Birthing Center and its NICU are located on the fourth floor of Altru Hospital. For more information, please call 701.780.5480 or 800.732.4277.