Akron Children's Neonatology department offers intensive care to sick and premature newborns. Read More...
On any given day, there are 45 to 50 babies receiving care in Akron Children's Hospital's 59-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
About 1/4 of these infants have been in utero for fewer than 32 weeks, 5 weeks less than what is considered necessary for full gestation.Some of them are as young as 24 weeks and weigh in at less than a kilogram.
Akron Children's neonatal team is committed to providing the most effective and efficient care for our tiny patients, as well as providing parents with the emotional and practical support they need.
To this end, Akron Children’s is part of the Vermont Oxford Network, a collaboration of health professionals from 850 NICUs around the world who focus on research, education and projects that improve the quality and safety of medical care for newborns and their families.
Akron Children’s neonatal expertise expands beyond the Level III NICU at our Akron campus. We also own and operate newborn special care nurseries at Akron General Medical Center and Summa's Akron City Hospital in Akron; Akron Children’s Beeghly campus in Boardman; and St. Elizabeth Boardman Health Center.
A specially equipped ambulance and pediatric transport team handles the transfer of the newborns requiring the Level III neonatal intensive care provided at Akron Children’s Hospital in downtown Akron.
Akron Children’s NICU provides a quiet and nurturing environment that closely mimics the womb with subdued lighting and noise; slow, gentle motions when treating preemies; and swaddling to provide a sense of security and flexion.
Research studies show that these developmental care practices result in:
Once settled in the unit, your baby will receive care tailored to his specific needs. Most NICU babies are on special feeding schedules, depending on their level of development or problems they have.
Medications are also important. For example, your newborn may take antibiotics, medicine to stimulate breathing, or something to help her blood pressure or heart rate.
To ensure your baby's care stays on track, our neonatologists will order various tests, possibly including blood and urine tests, X-rays and ultrasounds.
For infants whose care is complicated and involved, our doctors or nurses will place a line into an artery or vein so they can draw blood without having to repeatedly stick the baby. Our NICU staff works hard to make your infant’s stay in the nursery as comforting as possible.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Our NICU nurses can explain what all of the monitors, tubes, tests, and machines do.
Research, education and quality improvent projects are integral to Akron Children's department of Neonatology. We evaluate neonatal patient outcomes and benchmark our results against other Level III neonatal intensive care units across the U.S. and Canada.
Akron Children's Hospital is a member of the Vermont Oxford Network, a data-sharing collaboration of neonatal professionals worldwide. We are one of only 12 centers to be part of the network's quality improvement initiative called, "Your Ideal NICU."
One initiative that came from "Your Ideal NICU" is cue-based feeding, which reduces hospital stays and lessens feeding issues. This initiative set standards for how premature babies are transitioned from tube feedings to bottle.
Oxygen therapy is another advancement. Neonatologists now know that more oxygen is not better with premature infants. Following a model called POLAR (preemie oxygen levels are reviewed), infants who weigh less than 1500 grams and are on a ventilator get the least amount of oxygen.
POLAR has been found to reduce risks associated with chronic lung disease and a potentially blinding disorder, known as retinopathy of prematurity.
Other initiatives are less high tech, but equally proven. Kangaroo Care, or skin-to-skin contact between parent and newborn, has been found to stabilize vital signs, such as heart and respiratory rates, and lessen the need for oxygen, while also encouraging bonding.
We know how frightening it is to have a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit. We hope you find these articles helpful.
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