Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Some infants require special care due to prematurity or other conditions after birth. The Women's Hospital provides high-quality care in our Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). A Level III NICU means that we have neonatologists, neonatal nurses, and respiratory therapists available 24 hours per day and have set our standards with regard to the care we provide for the tiniest and most fragile infants.
We understand that it can be stressful when your baby requires NICU care. The lab tests, imaging tests and equipment used in the NICU may seem overwhelming for parents and families, but we want to ease your fears. That is why our neonatologists and staff visit with parents on a routine basis to provide updates on baby’s care. We explain any equipment being used and what testing may be required. In addition, we take the time to answer any questions you may have.
Want to know more? Ask any of our NICU team members.
Our Expert Staff
The team spirit of the entire NICU staff helps babies and families get home healthy, happy and as soon as possible. These experienced professionals work together to provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art care for your baby.
Our family-centered team includes:
- Board Certified neonatologists
- Neonatal nurse practitioners
- Registered nurses
- Occupational therapists
- Respiratory therapists
- Physical therapists
- Speech therapists
- Lactation consultants
- Registered Dietitians
- Social workers
Cecilia Luedloff (Mendiondo), MD
Rangassamy Meibalane, MD
Ron Pyle, DO
Kimberly Shimer, MD
Stacey Slagle, MD
Dennis Slagle II, DO
Our NICU team provides a sensitive, protective and individualized approach to newborn care through our developmental care concept. This approach will allow your baby to enjoy longer periods of rest and comfort and help them grow and develop.
Evaluation and Treatment Performed by Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapists
A specially trained individual may observe your baby before, during and after care to learn how your newborn reacts to noise, lights, and being touched and handled. Your baby’s responses and behaviors will tell our professionals what is stressful and what is comforting to your little one. The responses will also indicate how well your baby is developing.
We will share our observations to help you understand and support your baby’s needs. For example, we will suggest ways to help your baby achieve goals as simple as bringing their fingers to their mouth, which can require a major effort.
After being discharged from the NICU, your baby may benefit from the specialized care offered at Deaconess Riley Children's Specialty Center
. Our Developmental Clinic provides services to meet the unique needs of your infant without the long drive to Indianapolis.
We understand how important it is for your family to be able to visit your new baby. Because the babies in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) need special care due to prematurity or other conditions, visitation guidelines in our NICU differ from other areas of The Women's Hospital.
Privacy and Security
Due to protection of patient privacy, information will be offered by phone to the parents only. All other family members should call the parents for information about the baby's condition.
- When calling to check on your baby, please identify yourself and ask to speak to your baby's nurse.
- You will be asked for an identifying number (usually the ID band number) when you call. This is to verify that you are the parent, and is designed to protect your privacy.
- Our phone number is 812-842-4280. Long distance callers may use our toll-free number: 888-668-8326.
We are dedicated to the safety and security of your baby. Our NICU is a locked unit and entry into the unit is limited. Our doors can only be opened from the outside by an automated access system.
When babies are admitted to the NICU, the mother and father or designated support person will be granted access to the NICU during the time baby is a patient. Access is discontinued upon baby's discharge from the hospital.
Our entire hospital is also equipped with surveillance cameras. The cameras are monitored by security team members 24 hours a day.
- Tube Feedings - The transition from IV therapy to full oral feedings is made gradually and carefully. First, a tube is placed into the nose (NG) or mouth (OG) down to the stomach. The tube is taped into place. The baby can be fed continuously where the formula is pumped through the tube at a certain rate, or the entire feeding can be given at one time, usually every three hours.
- Oral Feedings - When the baby is able to coordinate sucking, swallowing and breathing, nipple feedings may begin.
- Breastfeeding - If you plan to breastfeed your baby, you can express and store your breast milk. Great Beginnings Lactation Boutique has breast pumps available for your home use while your baby is in the hospital. Ask you baby's nurse for details. Our NICU also has a freezer and refrigerator for your breast milk storage.
Like most parents, you are probably anxious to take your baby home. But before discharging your infant, we want to ensure that both baby and parents are prepared. Here are our goals:
Baby Preparation -
Before going home, it is important that your baby is:
Parent Preparation -
- Breathing on his or her own (although some babies go home on oxygen)
- Maintaining proper body temperature in an open crib
- Feeding from either a bottle or the breast
- Gaining weight steadily
To be prepared to care for your baby, you should:
- Feel comfortable handling and feeding your baby
- Be able to bathe your baby
- Know how to prepare your baby's formula
- Be able to take your baby's temperature
- Know how and when to give any medication your baby may need
- Know how to use a bulb syringe
- Have a car seat available to transport your baby home
- Be educated in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
Before your baby is discharged, you may be asked to spend a night in the Parent Apartment. By "rooming in" you can spend a night caring for your baby with the comfort of knowing your baby's nurse is available to answer questions or concerns.
Neonatal Transport Services
The Women’s Hospital's highly-skilled Neonatal Transport Team specializes in the safe and swift transport of premature and sick newborns in need of critical care from a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). We transfer the newborn in our on-site ambulance that is equipped with the most advanced technology. The transport ambulance serves as an extension of the high-quality care provided in our NICU.
The Neonatal Transport Team consists of specially trained neonatal nurses and respiratory therapists with expertise in airway management and stabilization of critically-ill babies. Our neonatologist guides this care through constant contact with the transport team. Each member of the Neonatal Transport Team is certified in NRP, STABLE, and Cardiac STABLE to maintain expertise in providing complex care to newborns. Our team is available 24/7 during or after delivery. Once the baby arrives at The Women’s Hospital Level III NICU, the family will be updated on the infant’s condition, stability and plan of care.