NICU (Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit)
The region’s only Level III NICU
Each year nearly 1,000 babies are born prematurely or critically ill, either at Hurley Medical Center or in the surrounding 3-county area. For the best chance of survival, these fragile lives require the expert, highly-specialized critical care available only from Hurley Medical Center’s Level III NICU.
The highest level of expertise, the most advanced technology, and a dedicated and caring staff
Being designated a Level III NICU facility means that our entire NICU staff—neonatologists (specialists in sick or premature newborns), perinatologists (specialists in high-risk pregnancies), NICU nurses, nurse practitioners, and respiratory therapy nurse specialists—have the state-of-the-art knowledge and technology needed to care for these premature or very sick newborns.
Life-saving transport capabilities for premature or very sick newborns
We not only care for the infants born here at Hurley Medical Center but also for ones born at other hospitals who become very sick. If one of these infants needs critical care, transporting him/her to Hurley is particularly challenging. To make the trip as medically safe as possible, our transport team—a neonatologist, NICU nurse, nurse practitioner, and respiratory therapist—travels to the transferring hospital, stabilizes the baby, and transports him/her here to Hurley’s NICU.
A team of highly specialized experts
One of the main reasons Hurley’s Level III NICU is so successful in caring for critically ill babies is our team approach:
Board certified neonatologists lead a highly-skilled medical team that includes nurses, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, developmental specialists, speech and physical therapists, and many others
Social workers help families deal with the stressful emotions and other concerns of having a baby in Hurley’s Level III NICU
Lactation consultants assist moms with the challenges of breastfeeding a very sick or premature infant
Hurley’s Level III NICU transport team is available 24/7 to stabilize and transport sick newborn infants throughout the region
- Hurley perinatologists in our Maternal Fetal Medicine Department deliver highly specialized care to both mother and fetus—throughout a high-risk pregnancy and delivery—all the way to Hurley’s Level III NICU
A state-of-the-art unit with the most innovative treatments and technology
Newly renovated with 44 beds in three pods, Hurley Medical Center’s Level III NICU is designed for privacy while delivering the highest level of critical care. The lighting is low and can be adjusted in each room if a procedure is required. All the technology we need to care for a very ill or preterm baby is right by each isolette (the latest models of giraffe isolettes), as well as the most advanced nitric oxide technology (used for respiratory ventilation).
Our NICU nurses: experts at delivering the highest level of specialized, compassionate care
It takes a special nurse to take care of critical babies through very turbulent times, and also to support the baby’s family during these times. Our Level III NICU nurses go out of their way to support parents and listen to their concerns, because these parents have no control over what their child is going through. We often hear how incredibly compassionate and caring our NICU nurses are, over and above what’s required—this is Hurley at its best.
Preparing parents for the NICU
If a baby is known to have problems before delivery, our High Risk Labor Unit will notify us ahead of time. The baby’s family will get a tour of the NICU so that they know what to expect when their baby is born. A preterm birth or a birth with complications is a very scary thing, and our staff is specially trained to not only stabilize and care for the baby, but also to help the family through this transition. A baby’s stay in our NICU unit may last a few days or sometimes 4-6 months.
Hurley Child Life Services
Siblings have been waiting up to 9 months to meet their new brother or sister, but the new sibling might have serious health problems. Also, the NICU can be a scary place for children. To help with these feelings, our Child Life Services staff teach siblings what they are going to see when they come to visit the new baby (tubes, special equipment, etc.) and try to find ways to help them adjust to this new change in their lives.
To help parents adjust to their newborn, we encourage them to participate in the care of their baby—hands-on touch and diaper changing—even if the baby is very preterm. We especially want mothers to be involved because babies know their mother’s voice and this is comforting to them. Even preterm babies need that close contact with mom.
Patient- and Family-Centered Care
Throughout Hurley Medical Center, one of our guiding principles is Patient- and Family-Centered Care. In Hurley’s Level III NICU, this means that parents are involved in all aspects of their baby’s care, even when the baby is not doing well. We encourage parents to watch and sometimes participate in the procedures we’re performing on their baby so that they stay closely involved in everything we do, including decisions about the baby’s treatment.
In the NICU, you choose your visitors.
Hurley Medical Center was one of the first hospitals to open our visitation to include whomever the parents choose. Siblings, grandparents, ministers, neighbors, friends—you choose the support people you would like to visit you and your baby.
The vast majority of our premature and sick babies get better, go home, and do very well. However, some of them do pass away. In those cases, we provide bereavement resources for families while they’re here in the hospital, and connect them with community resources to follow up with after they leave.
We also make sure these families have a memory of their child. If their baby didn’t come to our Level III NICU with an outfit, we provide one. We give the family a hand-painted bereavement box suited to the sex and age of their baby, and we also give photos. All of this greatly helps parents with the grieving process.
To learn about Hurley’s many helpful services for families visiting the NICU, click here.
To read inspiring stories of children who have been treated successfully in Hurley's NICU, click here.
For helpful websites and other resources, click here.