Caring for babies that require special care
Most babies are born healthy. But sometimes a small percentage of newborns will be born prematurely or with an illness that requires special care. That’s why we have the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a 56-bed, Level IV facility, where we care for over 1,200 babies each year.
Rest assured that the health of your baby is first and foremost in our NICU, where we provide close observation and precise and caring medical treatment for the littlest patients. Parents are welcome to visit and spend personal time with their baby and can call anytime, 24 hours a day, to know how their baby is doing—for those times when they cannot be with them at the NICU.
About 16 percent of all newborn babies require care in a NICU; we realize that most parents are not prepared to have their baby come to NICU. These babies need help making the transition into the world. The facility and services offered are based on guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other related agencies.
The NICU staff specializes in caring for babies who need very close observation or intensive medical treatment. The physicians directing the care of the babies in the NICU are full-time faculty members in the Neonatology Division of Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The professional NICU staff consists of nursing staff members, medical staff members, respiratory therapists, social workers, a pharmacist, and a nutritionist/lactation consultant.
Community resource groups such as Parents Supporting Parents work closely with the NICU. A toll-free number is available for those parents who live outside of the local dialing area. Parking is free for parents while the baby is hospitalized.
Parents who live out-of-town may be able to stay at the nearby Ronald McDonald House, if space is available. Having a place to regroup or relax while caring for a delicate infant is important for our families. The Ronald McDonald Room is available for those necessary moments of contemplation or rest. Equipped with a kitchen, washer and dryer, a television, and Internet access, this room is a place to gather together or just time to be alone. It is located on the third floor of the North Tower.
When a premature baby has recovered from the critical stages of his or her illness, the baby transitions to a nursery to begin preparing, along with baby's parents, for going home. To help parents become more comfortable about taking their baby home, they are encouraged to stay in one of our Parenting Rooms for one or two nights prior to the baby's discharge. The NICU staff will be close by to assist with the baby and to answer any questions.
Family Support Network of North Carolina provides one-on-one peer support to any NICU parent. Additionally, Family Support Network sponsors a lending library and "Chat and Snack", which meets monthly in the NICU conference room. For more information, contact 336-924-5301.