Neonatal Intensive Care

The Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a designated Level 4 facility providing the highest level of care within the state of Louisiana. The unit has 36 critical care beds for newborns and provides care for sick infants with problems resulting from prematurity, birth defects or acquired conditions. The NICU is a state-of-the-art, 11,000-square-foot facility with 24-hour air and
ground transport available for the sickest babies. The NICU has private and semi-private rooms available and has expanded more than five times its original size since opening in 1988.

Families are important partners in the NICU, collaborating with staff in caregiving and decision making for their infant. The NICU provides open visitation for parents and others chosen by parents for support during their infant’s hospital stay. Families are part of the care team and are encouraged to interact with their baby as much as possible, depending on the baby’s condition. Taking photos and
videos of the babies is encouraged to promote bonding with siblings/family members who are unable to visit. Live-streaming bedside cameras are also available 24 hours a day so parents and family members can view their baby through a password-protected website. Breast feeding is always encouraged, and lactation support is available to help nursing mothers provide milk for their infants.

All infants are under the care of the neonatologists with help from the largest pediatric specialist team in the state of Louisiana, if needed. A broad range of medical specialists and allied health providers are available. Highly-specialized therapies including conventional mechanical ventilation, high frequency ventilation, inhaled nitric oxide therapy, peritoneal and hemodialysis, ECMO (heart lung bypass),
and therapeutic hypothermia are provided as needed. Social workers and case managers are on staff to assist families. The neonatologists help train the largest group of future neonatologists and pediatricians in Louisiana. Neonatology fellows and pediatric residents, in addition to specialized neonatal nurse practitioners, are included in the patient care team.

Visitation

Parents are encouraged to visit as often as they are able. Sibling visitation is permitted when pre-arranged with the nurse or doctor. Siblings must be at least 4 years of age to enter the NICU, except during RSV season, when the age increases to 12 years. Children and adults must avoid visiting if they are ill (i.e. diarrhea, colds, fever, cough or have cold sores, pink eye or impetigo [Indian Fire]). Also, if you have been exposed to or had any infectious diseases such as chicken pox, measles or mumps within the past three weeks, please inform us immediately.

Visitors must call and speak with their baby’s nurse before entering the unit. A phone is provided in the waiting area. Cell phones are not allowed in the NICU. There are occasional situations in the NICU when no visitors are allowed. Only 3 visitors are permitted at the bedside at a time. Visitation is allowed 24 hours a day except during change of shift: 7-8 a.m. and 7-8 p.m. We ask that you leave the unit, and also refrain from calling during these times. Visitors may also be asked to leave the unit at the doctor or charge nurse’s discretion. Please understand that each baby is special and information is confidential. We ask that you visit with your baby only. Information regarding other patients cannot be discussed.

Phone calls

Parents may call the NICU 24 hours a day at (504) 896-9418, except during shift changes (7-8 a.m. and 7-8 p.m.). We will give information to parents only. Please ask extended family members and friends wanting information about your infant to communicate with you for updates. Parents will be provided a unique security pass code, which is required to receive any information over the phone.

Housing

Only one person will be allowed to sleep at the patient’s bedside overnight, if the infant’s condition allows. If space allows, a second person will be allowed to stay in the NICU waiting area.

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