Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
When you have a critically ill newborn, you want the best possible care for your baby. At WakeMed's Level IV NICU - the only one of its kind in Wake County - we offer extraordinary care for these tiniest patients, and have for more than 35 years.
Each year, our team of physicians, nurses, and other pediatric specialists treat more than 625 premature infants and critically ill babies with the help of:
- Full-time neonatologists - specialists in the care of critically ill babies
- Full-time perinatologists - specialists in treating high-risk pregnancies
- Nurse practitioners working with neonatologists and pediatricians to provide care
- Highly skilled neonatology staff, including pediatric psychologists, child development specialists, speech-language pathologists, registered nurses and PhD-level physical therapists
- Lactation consultants
- WakeMed Mother's Milk Bank - one of just eleven human milk donation programs in the country, the only one in the Southeast
- Special Infant Care Clinic for outpatient follow-up
- Special neonatal team to respond to unexpected complications during delivery
- Dedicated neonatal respiratory therapists
Neonatology at WakeMed is home of the Carolina Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) Training Center, one of only 10 training centers in the US (16 worldwide). The NIDCAP approach to care focuses on providing care that is most supportive for families and for the developmental needs of infants. WakeMed has been a leader in developmentally supportive care for more than 20 years.
Crystal Award Winner
We are proud to announce that our NICU had the highest patient satisfaction score for 2012. The PRC Crystal Award is given to a department that maintains scores in the 100th percentile or has the highest score of any NICU. Our NICU maintained scores in the 90th percentile all year and had the highest score of the 29 NICUs surveyed across the country. Learn more about the PRC awards.
WakeMed Cary Hospital - Home to Our Level III Nursery
In the event you encounter any problems with your baby's birth, or if your baby requires special attention, you can rest assured that your baby is in good hands. WakeMed Cary Hospital has a Special Care Nursery, which provides Level III care for babies needing short-term intensive care.
This facility shares a full time staff of highly skilled neonatologists and 24-hour neonatal nurse practitioners with our Raleigh Campus. When necessary, babies are transferred from Cary Hospital to the Raleigh Campus via our specially equipped Children's Transport Vehicle, staffed by an experienced team of transport professionals.
With their doctor's permission, moms are welcome to transfer and complete their postpartum stay at our Women's Pavilion & Birthplace - Raleigh so they can be near baby.
A Team Approach to Supporting Families
The NICU at WakeMed has a Developmental Team that helps families partner with staff in caring for their babies and in understanding the behavior and development of premature babies. This special team supports infants and their families who spend time in the NICU.
Developmentally supportive care is an important part of the NICU's philosophy of care. The Developmental Team works with families and other caregivers from a NIDCAP approach (Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program) which supports developmental progress with careful attention to behavior, the language by which babies communicate. Families are the most important support for their babies and the developmental care approach emphasizes this relationship through encouraging kangaroo care, observing baby behaviors, and supporting parenting in the NICU.
The NICU Expansion
WakeMed's Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) - the only Level IV NICU in Wake County - frequently operates above 100% capacity. A much-needed expansion will enable us to enhance services for children and their families in our region. The expansion will include:
- An increase in bed capacity from 36 to 48 beds to relieve consistent overcrowding issues. WakeMed already has received Certificate of Need approval from the State of North Carolina for this expansion.
- The creation of an environment that enhances newborn development through the reduction of sensory overload and 'auditory chaos'.
- Space design to facilitate increased parent involvement and opportunities to stay with their newborns 24/7.
- Enhanced opportunities for WakeMed's Women's Services department to enhance and expand its high risk pregnancy practice.
Learn more about how your support can help make this NICU expansion a reality.