Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
Having a newborn in need of special medical attention is one of the most trying experiences a parent may ever face. Because your baby has been admitted to the Messina Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at South Shore Hospital, you can take comfort knowing your child has access to the most advanced level of medical expertise, treatment and technology available.
Committed to You and Your Newborn
We understand that the birth of a premature or ill newborn can be a frightening, confusing and often unexpected experience. We help make this difficult time a little easier for you by providing some basic information about our Unit and the special care we will be providing for your baby.
Our NICU staff believes:
- In caring for babies with tenderness and love.
- That families are not visitors.
- In promoting strong family bonds.
- In working with parents so they develop confidence and skill to care for their babies in the hospital and at home.
- In maintaining a warm and nurturing environment for families.
- In providing the most advanced technology delivered by a skilled team of professionals.
- In welcoming families to provide care and comfort for their babies.
- In creating opportunities for mother/baby intimacy within the context of a high-tech environment.
Three Levels of Neonatal Care
South Shore provides specialized care based on your baby’s unique needs:
- Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU): Infants with a full range of complex medical conditions, including those who are extremely ill, receive technologically sophisticated intensive care in our 10-bed unit.
- Level II Special Care Nursery (SCN): Our 20-bed unit provides advanced neonatal care for “growing” or “recovering” babies as they prepare to go home.
- Level I Newborn Nursery: Healthy-term infants receive the care they need in our modern newborn nursery.
Both our Level III and Level II Units are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists with specific training in the care of ill, premature and recovering newborn infants. These highly skilled, experienced professionals (also including physical and occupational therapists) work together to attend to all your baby’s special needs.
Our NICU doctors are dually affiliated with both South Shore Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital. Your baby’s doctor at South Shore Hospital may choose to consult a Children’s Hospital physician at any time, if needed.
Additional features of our NICU/SCN:
- Overnight family rooms in both units make it possible for you to remain close to your baby.
- Newborn and pediatric sub-specialists from Boston Children’s Hospital also offer follow-up care, if needed, at Boston Children’s Physicians South outpatient clinics, 541 Main St., Weymouth.
- “Friend of Growing Families,” an organization of former NICU parents, provides emotional and informational support, and promotes activities such as an annual Family Fun Day.
Our NICU team believes that parents are an important part of our care team. We are dedicated to keeping you well-informed, and want you to feel like a partner in your baby’s care. You will be as fully involved as possible and your decisions will always be respected. By involving you early in your baby’s care, we hope to help build your confidence in caring for your infant. As your baby’s condition improves, you will be able to assume more responsibility for his or her care.
Bonding with a baby in the NICU is as important as bonding with any newborn, perhaps even more so. We encourage you to visit and spend time with your baby. To minimize the risk of infection, however, we ask that no one under 16 years of age visit infants admitted to our NICU and SCN. Siblings over 16 years of age may visit the baby if they are healthy.
We encourage you to ask questions about your baby’s care. No question or concern is too trivial or insignificant, so please feel free to approach us for information.
Preparing for Home
Preparing you for life at home with your baby is a priority for us. To help you experience a successful transition home, our neonatal care team will:
- Meet with you as a team in “family meetings” and encourage you to ask questions about your baby’s care and medical progress.
- Update you at your baby’s bedside with each day’s plan of care.
- Encourage you to take helpful classes, including our developmental class to help you understand your baby’s cues and behaviors, and our discharge class, where you will learn about specific issues related to caring for your baby safely at home.
- Test your baby’s hearing before going home.
- Perform a car seat test to avoid difficulties with breathing before going home.
In general, infants are discharged about the same time of their original due dates.
Learn More About the South Shore Hospital NICU
For more information about our comprehensive neonatal care, or to arrange a tour of our facility, please call 781-624-8373.