The NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) is a special place to care for newborns who need close supervision by medical personnel. Usually babies treated in NICU rooms are born with health problems, such as being born prematurely or born with congenital defects.
Like the emergency department (ER), the NICU room is a rapid response unit. This room is a special treatment room that provides facilities and infrastructure to overcome and prevent various conditions that can jeopardize the safety of newborns with health problems.
Know Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Newborns in need of intensive care will be immediately put in the NICU room. Keep in mind, not all babies who enter the NICU are definitely sick. It could be that she only needs more intensive supervision than other babies, but her organs can still work properly.
The duration of treatment in the NICU room may vary, it can be only a few hours, days, up to months. In this room, The child will be treated by a team of hospitals consisting of specialists, experienced nurses treating NICU patients and other helpful teams.
Equipment in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
The NICU room is equipped with a variety of medical devices to support newborn intensive care. Here are the tools you can find inside the NICU room:
An incubator is a small crib-like bed made of transparent hard plastic. This tool is useful to protect the baby from various causes of infection, as well as keep his body warm.
Around the incubator, there are various medical tools ready to be used to cope with critical conditions and to maintain the stability of the baby’s condition.
#2. Light therapy equipment
Light therapy or phototherapy is performed to treat babies who are yellow due to high levels of bilirubin. Through light therapy, the bilirubin form is changed so that it can be removed from the body through urine. That way, the rate is expected to return to normal.
Ventilators or breathing apparatus is used to help the breathing of a newborn who has respiratory distress or problems with his lungs. It will be connected to a thin hose inserted into the baby’s airway through his nose or mouth.
#4. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
In addition to ventilators, there are also other breathing apparatus called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This tool is used for babies who can still breathe on their own but need help. It is connected to a small hose inserted into the nose.
#5. Feeding tubes
It is inserted into the baby’s stomach through the mouth or nose to channel breast milk or formula milk.
#6. Infusion hose
Infusion hoses are used to aid the administration of the medicines and fluids that the baby needs. Usually an infusion hose is attached to a blood vessel in the baby’s arm or hand.
All babies treated in the NICU room are connected to a monitor. This monitor serves to display heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, temperature, and oxygen levels in the baby’s body.
In addition to being equipped with medical equipment, the NICU room is also supervised by a number of medical personnel, including special nurses in the NICU, general practitioners, pediatrics, pediatrics neonatologists, as well as other related specialists.
Why are preterm infants often sent to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)?
The following circumstances require the baby to receive treatment at the NICU:
Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS)
In this condition, the baby’s lungs have not fully developed so did not produce enough important substances called surfactants. To deal with it usually the baby is assisted with a breathing machine or ventilator temporarily or the use of artificial surfactants. Serious circumstances can result in the baby in the NICU room for several days or weeks.
Infection is the biggest threat to premature babies because these babies are still less able to fight germs that enter the body. This infection can come from the mother before birth, during the labor process or after birth. The length of time in the NICU room depends on the baby’s infection rate.
Sepsis is a severe infection that is commonly caused by bacteria in infants, and can result in serious complications in the kidneys, lungs, brain, hearing and can also result in death. Babies can experience changes in heart rate frequency, breathing very quickly or difficulty breathing, there is a time to stop breath about 10 seconds, yellow on the skin and eyes. It usually takes a few weeks in the NICU room.