The babies we care for are more vulnerable and dependent than healthy newborns. Many of them enter the world too early or are in crisis. Some of the babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) do not have the ability to breath on their own. In our NICU, team members draw on their experience, advanced skills and compassion to provide the best care possible for our smallest patients.
The Section of Neonatology at Rush Children's Hospital provides comprehensive care for critically ill newborns and infants, including consultation, transport and intensive care. Our neonatologists are available 24 hours a day and are all board-certified and actively involved in leading-edge treatment and research. We take a family-focused approach to the care of high-risk infants, allowing unrestricted visiting privileges for parents and grandparents.
Advanced Practice Nurses
The advanced practice nurses, also known as neonatal nurse practitioners (NNP), in the Rush NICU are a vital part of your baby's healthcare team. Along with your baby's doctor, the NNP determines the care that your baby will need in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). NNPs are in the unit 24 hours a day, providing frequent monitoring of your baby and giving comprehensive medical care tailored to meet the needs of your baby and your family. NNPs have advanced education and training that extend well beyond their preparation as registered nurses. They specialize in providing medical care for infants in the NICU. Working in collaboration with the neonatologist, the NNP evaluates, diagnoses, and treats neonatal patients with skill, care, and understanding.
NNPs are dedicated to improving your child's health. They have advanced education in neonatal nursing, medicine, and health care and must meet state licensing regulations, continuing education requirements, and competency standards. NNPs are certified by the National Certification Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that provides a national credentialing program for nurses. NPs at Rush are also credentialed and privileged through the Rush Medical Staff Office.
The Rush NICU Nursing Team provides extraordinary care with knowledge, skill and compassion.
Rush was the first hospital in Illinois serving both adults and children to achieve Magnet status and is the only one in the state serving both adults and children to receive the designation for a third time in a row.
Good nutrition is an essential component in every baby's health. For those babies facing additional medical challenges, it is especially important. Our NICU is staffed with licensed and registered dietitians who work daily with the interdisciplinary medical team to provide your baby with optimal nutrition. Our NICU strongly supports the use of mother's own milk as the best possible source of nutrition for your baby. For more information on human milk and lactation, please visit our Mother's Milk Club page.
A clinical social worker is a professional counselor who helps to assess and alleviate problems related to personal, family or social situations. Clinical social workers are a vital part of the rehabilitation multidisciplinary team. This team helps provide support for the patient and family, coordinate discharge planning and insurance benefits, and assist with financial problems and family conflicts.
Taking a new baby home is exciting, but it can also be stressful. This can be more true when you take home a baby who has been in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, whether it has been for a day or a few months. At Rush, preparing for discharge begins from the time of admission and continues through the hospital stay. We will make sure you have the knowledge and ability to safely care for your baby at home through the combination of teaching, discussions and hands-on practice throughout your baby's stay. The discharge planner will help ensure that appropriate follow-up care is identified and coordinated, when possible, before your baby goes home. The entire NICU team, including the physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, discharge planner, physical therapists and others, will work together with you to coordinate a smooth transition home.
Respiratory therapists are on site in the NICU 24 hours a day to attend to your infant. The therapists are neonatal-trained therapists and are assigned to the NICU. All therapists are registered respiratory therapists, credentialed by the National Board of Respiratory Care. Many of the therapists are neonatal/pediatric and ECMO specialists. All therapists hold current Neonatal Resuscitation Provider cards. NICU therapists attend all high-risk deliveries and accompany nursing on both internal and external transports. Each therapist is proficient using the highly sophisticated life support equipment
Lactation Team and Mother's Milk Club
The Rush Mothers' Milk Club is the lactation and human milk feeding program in the NICU at Rush. The clinical program is based on the most up-to-date research about lactation and human milk all NICU infants. The neonatologists, nurses, dietitians and breastfeeding peer counselors work to share this research with families so that they can work with the NICU staff members to collect, store and feed each mothers' milk using techniques and procedures that most benefit your baby.
Chaplains at Rush come from a variety of backgrounds. The staff includes a Roman Catholic priest, a Muslim imam, a Jewish rabbi and clergy representing a variety of other denominations. None of our chaplains works exclusively with one faith group. They serve everyone and help people access the resources of their own spirituality or religious traditions in the process of healing.
A developmental assessment and intervention by a pediatric Physical Therapist is available for infants in the NICU. Parents of infants followed by physical therapy wil be instructed in a home exercise program to promote normal patterns of movement which assist with acquisition of functional skills. A referral to an early intervention program, for ongoing therapy services after discharge from the NICU, can be prescribed if indicated.
The Neonatal High Risk Follow-up Clinic at Rush is a multidisciplinary clinic which monitors infants for growth and neurologic development up to 2 years corrected age. The clinic is essentially a Preemie Clinic and follows all infants with birth weights less than 1,500 grams (3 pounds 5 ounces) when hospitalized in the Rush NICU. Patients who meet the above criteria are referred during the hospital stay and the first visit is scheduled prior to discharge from the NICU.
Rush has been designated by the state of Illinois to serve as the regional center for a network of Chicago-area hospitals providing quality care to high-risk mothers and babies. The Rush network is one of 10 perinatal centers designated by the state of Illinois and is currently the largest, involving 18 hospitals delivering more than 30,000 infants per year. The Rush Perinatal Center maintains a 24-hour hotline to facilitate the transfer of high-risk mothers and infants. Through the perinatal center, Rush offers an extensive series of classes for physicians, nurses and other health professionals.
If your newborn infant requires advanced neonatal care, your infant's primary care provider may arrange transport to Rush University Medical Center's NICU. A specialized neonatal transport team is extremely important as newborn infants have special needs and require specialized care. The transport team consists of a certified Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, a highly skilled Neonatal Nurse and Respiratory Therapist under the guidance of a board certified Neonatologist. The Rush Neonatal Transport team transports critically ill premature and term neonates and infants from referral centers throughout the Chicagoland area by ground ambulance. The ambulance is equipped with a specialized ventilator, nitric oxide, and cooling abilities for brain injury. Approximately 125 neonates are transported each year from our referring hospitals.
The Rush Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has in-house Neonatologists as well as pediatric specialists who manage any medical and surgical problem a critically ill newborn may require.
Providers can arrange transport to Rush NICU by contacting our physicians at 312-947-8800.
The Rush Children's Hospital Palliative Care Program provides interdisciplinary care to children with complex, chronic medical problems that are potentially life-limiting or life-threatening. Our team aims to anticipate, prevent and relieve the physical, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual suffering of patients with and families caring for children with complex and chronic, medical problems. An infant or child who has complex needs can live well into their adult years.
Fetal and Neonatal Medicine Center
This comprehensive center is designed to give expectant parents and their referring physicians the information they need to provide optimal care to women carrying babies with anomalies (heart defects, intestinal problems, brain defects, etc.). We provide detailed evaluations, diagnostics and advice to physicians and parents on the plan of care for these mothers during pregnancy, at time of delivery, and for care of infants after delivery. The center does this by bringing together an experienced and expert team of physicians, nurse practitioners, geneticists, social workers and chaplains. Each member of our team contributes to the total care of our families by providing skilled medical, social and spiritual care.