With 48 beds, the Florida Level III Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was designed for critically ill newborns. Additional space, advanced technology and trained health care professionals, along with an expanded parent area, provide warmth, intimacy and extraordinary care for our tiniest of patients. Special attention is given to lighting, noise control and overall design.
The unit is colorful, a stark contrast to the white walls seen in many modern NICUs. With wood, carpet and artwork on the walls, and a swarm of "glowbug" lights to lead the way, the unit is a home away from home.
Making the NICU even more technologically advanced, the unit now has 12 Giraffe® OmniBeds® which are designed to enhance and improve the care of neonates. The beds, manufactured by GE Healthcare, are state-of-the-art and provide uninterrupted thermal support for babies while providing complete access and visibility for caregivers.
The Giraffe® OmniBed® is an incubator and radiant warmer in one. As an incubator, the bi-directional airflow through the double walls provides a stable thermal environment that protects the baby from heat loss. As a radiant warmer, the mattress is evenly warmed for the baby without also warming the caregiver. The baby receives the heat uniformly during procedures.
With these beds, the need to move infants from one space to another during their care, even during the most difficult of procedures, is eliminated. Instant three-sided access makes it easier for caregivers to provide care. Parent access is also easier, even for moms in wheelchairs. The Baby Susan™ Rotating Mattress rotates 360º to ensure proper positioning of babies during procedures without disturbing them.
For babies who are well enough to receive a less intense level of care, there are 8 Level II beds in the Weaver Tower at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville, and 14 beds at Baptist Medical Center South. These Level II units are extensions of the neonatal intensive care program at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. A level II NICU can take care of babies born with a higher acuity than is provided in a newborn nursery. Babies requiring ventilation, surgery or who have other, more critical needs are transferred to Wolfson Children's Hospital's Level III NICU.
Both NICUs are equipped with the latest technology to heal tiny, fragile babies, and they are cared for by University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville board-certified neonatologists (doctors who specialize in newborn critical care), nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and Wolfson Children’s Hospital neonatal nurses and respiratory therapists. NICU patients with multiple medical needs also have quick access to a number of pediatric specialty physicians, if needed, at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Babies also have access to a number of other children’s health care professionals, including:
- Occupational therapists
- Physical therapists
- Speech language pathologists
- Social workers
- Child Life specialists
- Clinical dietitians
- Lactation consultants (for mom and baby)
- Music therapists (at NICU Jacksonville)
Human breast milk has so many positive qualities that aid in the growth and development of premature babies. It helps premature babies by protecting the intestinal tract, promoting its function, health and growth. Breast milk also contains antibodies to protect babies against infections, reduces the chances of developing allergies and other health issues, and aids in the development of the brain and nervous system.
That’s why we encourage our moms to pump or breastfeed if they can. We offer a few locations for pumping moms including a private room on the unit or, if preferred, by the baby’s bedside. Nurses and lactation consultants can assist with any questions about breastfeeding or pumping.
Babies in the NICU also have access to donor breast milk from both nationally and state-registered milk banks. The milk from these banks undergoes stringent screening for safety before it is shipped to a baby in the NICU. For moms who have been told they cannot breastfeed or pump due to medical reasons including stress, high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems, breast surgery or medications, donor breast milk is available for babies at no charge.