That is not a secret that newborn babies require professional care and medical attention, especially during the very first hours and days of their life. This is the reason why they should be admitted into a special place – the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
What Is Neonatal Intensive Care Unit?
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU, is a nursery that offers around-the-clock care to premature or sick babies. It is staffed with professional care providers, who have both special equipment and training to give the best care babies need.
According to the latest statistics, nearly 15% of all newborn babies require specialized care and attention. This refers to those, who are born premature or sick.
The benefit of this nursery is that it combines trained healthcare professionals and advance technology, providing specialized care for its patients. Even healthy babies need specialized nursing care, and this is what NICU for. Unfortunately, far not all hospitals have such place and professional staff. In most cases, babies should be transferred to another clinic.
The specialized staff of the nursery usually includes:
- Neonatologists. They are doctors, who specialize in care of sick babies. They are professionally trained to treat various health problems in newborns.
- Residents. These are doctors, who are in training to become pediatricians.
- Respiratory care practitioners are healthcare providers that treat critically ill patients.
- Neonatal fellows. They are doctors, who are in training in neonatology.
- Neonatal registered nurses are specialists in the care of critically ill babies, as well as their families.
- Clinical nurse specialist is an advanced practice nurse. This person is focused on conducting research and teaching nursing practices.
- Neonatal nurse practitioner is a nurse with education in coordinating and planning the treatment of critically sick patients.
In Neonatal Intensive Care Units parents and their newborn babies will always find help and support provided by specialized staff, new medical equipment and a thorough treatment plan.
Neonatal Intensive Care Units always hold the best equipment that can help a newborn child, depending on the diagnosis and condition of the baby. To the list of the most important equipment belong:
In most cases a baby cannot get enough calories through a regular bottle feeding. This is why a professional nurse uses a special small feeding tube in order to deliver breast milk or formula. A little tube is placed into the stomach of a child through the nose or mouth. Sometimes doctors suggest combining bottle and tube feeding. However, usually tube feeding is enough.
Such tubes aren’t painful, as they are taped in place and do not move, so they never cause friction. The only drawback is that they can’t be used for a long time, as they may lead to erosions either in the stomach or nose.
Speaking of special infant warmers, it should be pointed out that these are beds that have radiant heaters over them. Another type of bed is an isolette – a small bed enclosed by plastic. The temperature inside is controlled and monitored to make it easier for a newborn to control the body temperature. Such beds have special holes that allow accessing to the babies for examination.
And finally, intravenous catheters and lines. These are flexible tubes that are inserted into veins with needles. When they are in the vein, the needle is removed, and a soft plastic tube is left.
Neonatal Intensive Care Units have everything a newborn needs for proper development and strong health.