Having a sick or premature newborn can feel like a roller coaster ride – from the joy of meeting your little one for the first time to the anxious worries about what the future will bring. At Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, the caring teams at our neonatal intensive care units (NICU) support you and your baby every step of the way.
Our 40-bed, Level IV NICU, located at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest, ranks in the top 10 percent for overall parent satisfaction. We also offer leading-edge care for your newborn at the Level III NICU at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono and at the Level II NICU at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg.
What is a NICU?
Our NICU is a specialized environment for sick preemies or newborns (neonates) who need lifesaving treatment.
In most cases, babies who need care in a neonatal ICU haven’t yet gone home after being born in the hospital. These babies are usually admitted within 24 hours of birth.
Our specialized NICU is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by neonatologists. These specialists have extensive training to deliver neonatal intensive care.
Neonatologists collaborate with pediatricians, obstetricians and maternal fetal medicine specialists (perinatologists) to deliver state-of-the-art care.
Highly educated neonatal nurses who have expert training to meet the needs of critically ill newborns add support. Neonatal nurses constantly monitor vital signs and work tirelessly to ensure newborns are calm, comfortable and soothed.
How is care delivered in the NICU?
In the NICU, your newborn will be placed in an Isolette®. An Isolette is a small bed enclosed by plastic to control the temperature.
We offer therapies that are specific to the intensive care needs of each newborn, including:
- Advanced neonatal respirators to support newborns with breathing difficulties
- Head cooling caps for neurologic protection
- Feeding tubes placed into the stomach to ensure ample and appropriate nutrition, either formula or breast milk
Our board-certified neonatologists work closely with other care providers including:
- Certified neonatal nurse practitioners who work with doctors and nurses to deliver care
- Respiratory therapists who help with breathing concerns
- Occupational or physical therapists who focus on the developmental needs of babies in the NICU
- Specially trained dietitians and feeding specialists who perform nutrition assessments and develop dietary plans
- Pediatric-focused pharmacists who offer specialized medication management for neonates
When needed, they will call on pediatric subspecialists such as:
Family-centered neonatal ICU
Our NICU is a family-centered unit where parents are considered a key part of the care team. We encourage constant family presence and promote:
- Frequent interaction
- Skin-to-skin holding (kangaroo care)
- Gentle touch
- Breastfeeding (when possible)
When you can’t be present, we offer LVHN BabyCam. This private, live video stream of your baby lets you check on him or her at any time.
Our neonatal nurses are available to answer every question you have and to explain the treatments your baby receives. We also offer the support of social workers who can help with:
- Housing or transportation needs related to your baby’s hospital stay
- Insurance concerns
- Getting family members the social and emotional support they need