Genesis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
Superior technology, experienced and highly skilled nurses, and an emphasis on family-centered care make the Genesis Medical Center East campus NICU a regional leader in the care of critically ill newborns. The unit can handle complex cases involving babies who are born 29 weeks gestation, or nearly three month premature. Its Iowa Department of Public Health designation as a Level II Regional Neonatology Center means it is able to provide neonatal transport services and a high level of ventilator and respiratory support.
The dramatic rise in the annual rate of premature births – 27 percent since 1981 – is now called the number one obstetric problem in the United States. Babies born preterm are smaller, have less-developed organs and face a greater risk of serious health problems. That’s where the Genesis NICU comes in. Neonatal-infant ventilator systems enable the mechanical ventilation of high-risk premature infants with under-developed lungs.
The NICU, which underwent a $1.4 million expansion in 2001, is designed specifically to be a developmentally friendly environment - with subdued lighting and reduced sound -- for the premature and acutely ill infant. These babies require a decreased stimuli setting in order to thrive. The design and décor of the Genesis NICU look like a quaint village on a bay and are intended to be soothing to babies and families. Shutters and lighted awnings make rooms look like cottages, and carpeting shows the waves and reflections of a shimmering pool of water. Rooms with names like Rock-a-bye Road, Snuggle Street and Lullaby Lane carry on the theme.
Other features of the Genesis NICU include:
- Capability to individualize temperature, sound and light to the baby's health needs.
- Technologically advanced monitoring equipment that makes it possible for nurses to monitor 20 babies at a time.
- 11 private rooms where critically ill infants can be stabilized. Nurse substations provide direct visualization and monitoring to these rooms.
- A homier isolation room for an infant with complex care needs that also accommodates parents who wants to room in with their child.
- 2 "nesting" rooms, giving privacy in a home-like setting to parents while they breast-feed or bottle-feed their babies and an opportunity to learn their complex care needs before being discharged.
- A secured area with electric doors to provide increased security and better control of visitors coming in and out of the NICU.
- Infant security system- each baby banded for protection.
- A refreshment area for families.
- A shower/tub and bathroom for families within the unit.
- 24 hour Neonatology coverage.
- Multiple private areas, offering a more ideal place for Spiritual Care to provide support to families.
The Genesis NICU makes it easier for parents to spend more time on-site and be involved in their baby's care. Despite the barriers to bonding that come with having an infant attached to high-tech equipment, the goal is to give control and decision-making back to the parents and help them remain physically and emotionally linked to their baby.
“Most of the time, their baby’s admission to the NICU has totally caught the parents by surprise. Their ideal birthing experience suddenly has changed, and a lot of the control has been taken away from them. We try to give the control and decision-making back to the parents so they truly feel involved in the care-giving and not so isolated from their baby.”
Cindy Skipton, RN, Manager, NICU
In addition, the Genesis NICU participates in the Vermont Oxford Network, which maintains a database of information from more than 400 hospitals about the care and outcomes of high-risk newborn infants. Membership in this network gives the hospital the opportunity to participate in clinical trials, long-term follow-up studies and epidemiologic and outcomes research, and to teleconference on quality initiatives.