"We believe babies do best when families and health care providers work together in a partnership where everyone is respected and valued."
— Rush University Medical Center's NICU Family Centered Care Committee
Having a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is often unexpected and can be overwhelming. We understand that family is the most important part of a baby's life and will cope with having a baby in the NICU in their own way. Our NICU is a caring environment where the baby is part of the family and the family is part of the health care team. We are here to help you through this time. Each family has special beliefs and customs making their experience unique. You can expect a warm and welcoming environment that is safe, supportive and flexible to meet your needs. We promise to be open and give clear information about what is happening with your baby, and together we will plan and provide the best care for your baby and you.
You are very important to your baby, and we want you to feel welcome in the NICU at all times, day or night. For the health and safety of your baby, it is important to follow the guidelines listed below. If you have any questions, please let us know.
- Friends and family members are welcome to stay with you at your convenience.
- Brothers and sisters ages 3 and up are welcome at any time. An adult must accompany all children. Talking with your children about what they see in the NICU will help them prepare for the visit. Please make sure siblings are in good health and be aware that it is often difficult for younger children to spend long periods at the bedside.
- For the developmental needs of your baby we suggest no more than two visitors at a time at the bedside. There is a family room located in the NICU where additional family members and friends can wait.
- Preemie Picnic and NICU Graduate Reunion: An annual community outreach event that celebrates the lives of the NICU's preemie graduates with their families and former doctors, nurses and therapists. Education, refreshments, games, crafts and live music are part of this rewarding day.
- March of Dimes Walk
- Annual memorial service
Share the Science is a program in which families have the opportunity to interact with experts and gain valuable knowledge about their baby's care and development.
- "What is Your Baby Thinking" discusses your baby's vision, hearing, touch, and capacity to learn with reference to stages of brain development. Michael Nelson, PhD, presents this hourlong talk on the last Friday of each month in the NICU's Parent Room.
- "How Is My Baby Breathing" discusses apnea and bradycardia, and how your premature infant gradually develops the maturity to grow out of these problems. Jean Silvestri, MD, presents this hourlong talk in the NICU's Parent Room. Please see the class calendar for the next scheduled talk.
- "Back to Sleep" discusses how to keep your baby safe while in their crib and while they are sleeping. Jean Silvestri, MD, presents this hourlong talk in the NICU's Parent Room. Please see the class calendar for the next scheduled talk.
- "Infant CPR" Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: This two-hour class is offered to parents and caregivers and provides instruction in the basics of CPR specific to infants. Class participants learn the techniques used for saving a choking infant, CPR procedures and other safety precautions to use when around infants up to age 1.
View the parent class calendar
Qualified foreign and sign language interpreters, TTYs and other auxiliary aids and services are available free of charge to patients and families who are limited in English proficient, deaf or hard of hearing. Please contact any Medical Center personnel or the Interpreter Services Office at (312) 563-2987 (voice/TTY).
Discount parking coupons are available for purchase at the fourth floor Atrium Patient Information Desk and only from a parking garage attendant assigned during the following hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday/Sunday/Holidays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The parking garage at Rush provides monthly parking passes at a reduced cost for our NICU families, who have babies requiring lengthy hospitalizations.
See a list of dining options
Mothers' Milk Club
The Rush Mothers' Milk Club is the lactation and human milk feeding program in the NICU at Rush University Medical Center. The clinical program is based on the most up-to-date research about lactation and human milk for premature and other NICU infants. Neonatologists, nurses, dietitians and breastfeeding peer counselors 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 the individual baby.
CarePages.com is an online community with over a million unique visitors a month who come together to share the challenges, hopes and triumphs of anyone facing a life-changing health event. Through personalized websites, members can relate their stories, post photos and update friends and family instantly. In turn, people who care send messages of love and encouragement. CarePages.com also offers a variety of resources and support tools for living a more compassionate life. Private-labeled CarePages websites are also offered by over 625 U.S. and Canadian health care facilities. CarePages has a simple, singular mission: to ensure that no one faces a health challenge alone.
Having a baby in the NICU can be difficult for families. The following supports are available:
- Chaplain services are available 24 hours a day to offer spiritual support and counseling. They can be reached at (312) 942-5571. In addition, your baby's nurse or the unit clerk can also page a chaplain for you.
- The hospital chapel is located on the first floor of the Pavilion Building across from the "C" elevators.
- Social workers are available Monday through Friday to work with families during your stay as well.
- Crisis counselors
- The Stepping Stones support program is for families who would appreciate an intensive level of support. It is a "day at a time" approach to care. Crisis counselor, social workers, chaplains and ethics consultants provide one-on-one support for families dealing with a high level of stress and intensity due to the critical status of their baby. We are also available to work with you when you are faced with a life-changing decision and would like assistance in planning and reviewing options. Stepping Stones is available prior to the birth of an infant, during care in the NICU and beyond. Our team also works together with the Peds Palliative Care Team to support infants and their families to live as well as possible, no matter how complex the situation.