According to the March of Dimes, 1 in 10 babies will need neonatal intensive care, which is why it’s important to do your research and ask all of the right questions before the birth of your baby. Earlier this week we covered five important considerations for parents when choosing a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU (see blog, here). Today, we’re jumping right in and covering five more:
- Parental Support: Because parental involvement is crucial to baby’s treatment, reponsive NICU programs support parents in every way possible. Is the presence of parents and family encouraged 24/7? What support services are available to parents? Are there overnight facilities for parents who want to stay on-site? Are parents encouraged to touch and hold their babies?
- Team Approach: In addition to neonatologists and specialized nursing care, premature and sick newborns may need physical therapists, respiratory specialists, developmental specialists and dieticians. The practive of all these specialists working together to care for your baby is known as a multidisciplinary approach. Ask if your hospital practices a mulitdisciplinary approach to infanct care.
- Transition Home: Ask how the NICU will help you and your baby get ready to go home. Are there rooming-in facilities to help ease the transition from hospital to home? Will your family’s pediatrician be involved in discharge planning? Are parents given the skills needed to provide care once home?
- Ongoing Research: Academic medical centers, like Texas Children’s Hospital, conduct research that leads to advances in patient care, offering more options and more hope. Access to the latest medical break-throughs can make all the difference. Ask what research is currently underway at the hospital and what research conducted at the hospital has led to improved care for newborns.
- Evidence-based Care: Evidence based care is developed from research that shows what is best for newborns who need specialized care. Make sure your baby’s care is based on the most up-to-date information available. Ask if guidelines are in place to minimize tests and promote the best possible practices. Confirm that the hospital trains its staff to deliver evidence-based care.
Texas Children’s Newborn Center is one of the only level IV NICUs in the Houston region able to provide babies with the highest level of care. To learn more about the different NICU levels, visit here. And for more information about Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women and our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, visit here.