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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

The Messina Family Neonatal Intensive Care UnitMessina Family 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 be assured that your child will have access to the most advanced level of medical expertise, treatment, and technology available.

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.

South Shore Hospital provides three levels of newborn care:

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 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.

Around the clock care from our expert staff

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 work together to attend to all your baby’s special needs.

Our team (which also includes physical and occupational therapists) will provide expert, specialized care for your baby. 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.

Boston Children's Physicians

NICU incubatorAdditional features of our NICU/SCN:

Overnight family rooms in both units make it possible for you to remain close to your baby.

Follow-up care with newborn and pediatric sub-specialists from Boston Children’s Hospital is offered, if needed, at Boston Children’s Physicians South outpatient clinics, 541 Main St., Weymouth.

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.

“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.

Parent participation

Our NICU team believes that parents are an important part of our care team.  We are dedicated to keeping you well-informed, and we 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.

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, we 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.

For more information about the NICU at South Shore Hospital or to arrange a tour of our facility, please call (781) 624-8373.


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