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Children's Expands NICU Facilities

On May 17, 2009, Children’s National Medical Center opens a state-of-the-art 54 bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on the 6th floor of the East Inpatient Tower. The new unit is approximately four times larger than the current space, which admits more than 700 patients annually.

Features of the New Unit
  • Private patient rooms designed with input from families and staff.
  • Two parent transition sleep rooms with private bath and a washer and dryer, allow parents to spend the night with their child for pre-discharge readiness.
  • Patient monitor alarms are located at the bedside and ring directly to nurse phones.
  • Remote EEG monitoring.
  • Eight of the NICU beds are designated neonatal neurology beds for dedicated neuroprotection care.
  • Rocking chair, as well as a locked storage area for family belongings.
  • Refrigerators are located in each room allowing mothers to pump fresh milk for even very premature babies who use nasogastric (NG) tubes. Breast milk warmers also are at each bedside.
  • Soft/indirect lighting is used in the NICU to improve developmental care. This is a nationwide best practice in the care for premature neonates. It creates a calm and soothing environment and the risk of injury to developing retinas is reduced.
  • Two family waiting areas, one of which has a sibling play zone. The other is a quiet room available for reading or meditation.
About Children’s NICU

Children’s NICU is the region’s only Level III C, the highest distinction available by the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. Our multidisciplinary team includes neonatologists, neonatal neurologists, pediatric surgical and medical subspecialists, radiologists, and specially trained nurses.

A neonatal neurologist rounds with the neonatology team every day, to ensure the protection of neurological function and development in pre-term infants, using technologies such as:
  • Whole-body cooling
  • ECMO
  • Non-sedated MRI
  • Neonatal MRI head coils
  • MRI-compatible incubators
  • Portable CT scanner
  • Continuous brain wave and brain oxygen monitoring technology, which was evaluated and refined at Children’s National.
Children’s has the oldest neonatal neurointensive care program in the mid-Atlantic region and is one of a few hospitals in the country with three neonatal neurologists and two neonatal EEG specialists. Seven pediatric neurophysiologists and three pediatric neuroradiologists also are part of the Children’s NICU team.

Children’s has successfully treated infants who weighed approximately one pound at birth and were born at less than 23 weeks gestation. Children’s Neonatology Program is ranked in the top 10 neonatology programs in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

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