Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

The Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital is part of New Jersey’s first state-designated Regional Perinatal Center. Our NICU is licensed for 54 bassinets and provides the most comprehensive neonatal care in the state for newborn and infants with medical or surgical problems.

Our care for children often begins even before birth and continues long after the baby leaves The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. When potential problems are detected during pregnancy, perinatologists and neonatologists at Saint Peter’s work together with the mother's obstetrician to create an individualized plan of care. After the baby is born, we work with the family pediatrician or family doctor to make arrangements for any special care the baby may need at home. Our medical and nursing staff works with parents to prepare them for the transition from hospital to home.
 
Our philosophy of care is family-based, ensuring that the best care is provided in the most caring, individualized, personal manner. The NICU at Saint Peter’s Children’s Hospital is staffed 24 hours a day by a board certified neonatologist, nurse practitioners, a physician assistant, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and a neonatal-trained pharmacist and social worker. Specialists in multiple pediatric specialists are also on-call 24 hours a day. Saint Peter’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit offers advanced technologies, treatments and programs that address the needs of our smallest and most vulnerable patients. These include:

Neonatal Pharmacy
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit satellite pharmacy opened in 1995 to provide high-quality, patient-centered care to the intensive care and special care nurseries at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. Staffed seven days a week by pharmacists and technicians specially trained in neonatal pharmacotherapy, this is a full-service pharmacy that provides all medication doses in a ready-to-use form. Staff neonatal clinical pharmacy specialists work closely with multidisciplinary healthcare teams to provide safe and effective treatments for newborns.

The Infant Apnea Center provides care to infants who are at risk of suffering from this sleep disorder. When home monitoring is necessary, the Center provides parents or caregivers with monitor and CPR training, cardiorespiratory monitors, medications, and oxygen therapy training.

Screenings and Treatment for the Eyes
Retinopathy of Prematurity Screening (ROP) is the development of abnormal blood vessels in the retina of the eye in a premature infant, putting them at greater risk of developing certain eye problems later in life. A board certified pediatric ophthalmologist is responsible for screening newborn infants at risk for ROP. ROP is treated with laser surgery performed by a board certified specialist who is part of the neonatal team at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s.

Hearing Screening
New Jersey has adopted a law that all newborns must have their hearing tested before leaving the hospital or within one month after birth. At The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, a hearing screening is performed on all newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Why does a newborn need a hearing screening? It is because a newborn will have the best chance for normal language development if any hearing loss is detected and treated by the age of six months: the earlier the better.

Pediatric Cardiology
At the CHOP Cardiac Center at Saint Peter's Children's Hospital, board-certified pediatric cardiologists, a nurse clinician and cardiac technologists offer comprehensive services for infants, children and young adults with all forms of acquired and congenital heart disease as well as electrical disorders of the heart. Conditions treated here include heart murmurs, congestive heart failure, rheumatic fever, Kawasaki disease and arrhythmias.

Respiratory Assistance
Premature and critically ill newborns often have respiratory problems. The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s offers the most advanced technologies to treat them. Our doctors use several lifesaving treatments for newborns. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Saint Peter’s was one of the first hospitals in New Jersey to evaluate the use of surfactant therapy, which is now routinely used to treat breathing problems in premature babies.
 
Hypothermia Program
Neonatologists have witnessed tremendous advances in medicine’s ability to save the lives of critically ill newborns. But until recently there was simply no treatment available to stop the damage caused by asphyxia or lack of oxygen to the brain. Now a new technique is giving newborns another chance at living a more normal life: brain cooling. The Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital became one of the first in the region to offer this procedure in 2011.
 
Reducing body temperature is already used during certain neurological and heart procedures for adults. Now, two new international studies have demonstrated the value of cooling the brain in newborns suffering with moderate or severe asphyxia. Timing however is critical. In order for this to work, brain cooling must be initiated with in six hours of delivery in infants with asphyxia. Asphyxia occurs both before and during birth. Any baby who is at risk of, or suspected of, suffering moderate or severe asphyxia should be considered for immediate transfer to the NICU at Saint Peter’s for evaluation.
 
Special Accommodations
When a baby must stay in the hospital, the whole family can feel the strain, emotionally and financially. We offer a number of support services to help parents know what to expect and to acquaint them with the people, surroundings and many support services available at Saint Peter’s. The NICU has a PhD clinical psychologist available to parents for either a one-to-one meeting or a group meeting.
 
At the NICU, your family comes first. Each family receives a complete information notebook developed by the NICU staff. Parents are encouraged to talk with our staff about anything at any time, and to visit as much as possible. When parents do not live nearby, they may stay in a room set aside for them near the NICU. The Ronald McDonald House is located a few blocks away from Saint Peter’s in New Brunswick. Our social work staff will assist with making arrangements for accommodations.

High Risk Infant Follow-up
Specialists in our Newborn Follow-Up Clinic provides comprehensive, continuing care for babies who are at risk for developmental and neurological problems. Specific services include developmental, hearing, medical and motor evaluations; social work services; and speech and language assessments.

Bonding through NICVIEW
Saint Peter's is the first regional hospital in the metropolitan area to fully equip its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with live-streaming cameras that make it possible for parents to view their babies from a secure online portal. This technology makes it possible for families to bond with their preemie or hospitalized infant from any computer or mobile device from home or anywhere. There are many advantages to the NICVIEW system, including sharing viewing privileges with close family and friends who live out of town.

When the time comes to be discharged from the NICU, a nurse reviews the newborn’s care at home, procedures for making follow-up appointments and the discharge process.
 

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