Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora offer level III neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), the highest level of care for babies in need. Our neonatologists and NICU nurses use advanced technology to provide expert, around-the-clock care for babies born too soon (premature) or with certain health conditions.

Our NICUs were designed with the entire family in mind. You’ll find the space and support your family needs to care for and bond with your baby. We offer the following benefits during your time in the NICU:

  • Private rooms: Each family receives a private room with a bathroom and shower so you can stay with your baby as often as you are able. This quiet environment fosters improved brain growth and development in babies with low birth weight. An individual room can also help prevent infection and allow you to have private conversations with your baby’s providers.
  • Access to your baby, anytime: You are welcome to be with your baby at any time — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Secured and safe space: Our NICUs are locked units for the safety of our babies. Parents must always wear ID bands and accompany any guests. To prevent infection and for security, we also limit the number of visitors allowed in a baby’s room.
  • Supporting your breastfeeding goals: Studies show breast milk as a powerful tool in helping small and vulnerable babies. You'll have the option of pumping and providing your own breast milk until your baby is strong enough to latch. Rush lactation specialists will assist you with any breastfeeding challenges.
  • Transparent communication with your care team: Our neonatologists will see your baby at least daily, in addition to the support of your baby’s nursing staff. If you are not able to be in the NICU when your doctor visits, you’ll have the option of speaking with your care team via video conference. You may also check on the status of your baby at any time through dedicated phone lines to our nursing team.
  • Dedicated rooms for parents: Each of our NICUs offer family rooms — calm spaces to read a book, watch a movie or catch up on work, many of the activities often interrupted by your hospital stay. At Rush Copley Medical Center, our Parent Resource Room includes computers, reference materials, snacks and a TV.

mother with baby and doctor

Rush Excellence in Neonatal Intensive Care

  • Baby-Friendly designation: Rush University Medical Center is a Baby-Friendly Designated birth center — one of few hospitals in Illinois to receive this honor. Baby-Friendly USA, a World Health Organization-affiliated institution, awards this prestigious international designation to hospitals that provide a high level of care, support and education to breastfeeding mothers and their babies to help them successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding.
  • Nearby delivery and postpartum rooms: When seconds matter most, our NICU services at both Rush hospitals are just steps away from our delivery or operating rooms. Our postpartum recovery rooms also neighbor the NICU so you can conveniently visit your baby at any time.
  • Highly-trained providers, comprehensive care: Neonatologists and specially-trained NICU nurses staff our Rush NICUs 24 hours per day, monitoring and treating your baby with expert care. When needed, they also partner with any of Rush’s pediatric subspecialists to treat your baby’s specific medical needs.
  • Expert respiratory care for newborns: Rush offers expert respiratory therapists to help babies with breathing problems. They have all successfully completed the Neonatal Resuscitation Program and are licensed, registered therapists through the state. Many of the respiratory therapists are also neonatal/pediatric and ECMO specialists.
  • Parents as partners: At Rush, we believe in family-centered care. Parents are critical to their babies’ development and should be deeply involved in the care of and medical decisions for their babies. As part of our family-centered approach, we encourage skin-to-skin contact for all babies born at Rush. Babies rest directly on a parent’s chest, after delivery or when the baby is stable, which has shown to improve babies’ heart rates, breathing patterns, temperature regulation and neurodevelopment.
  • Collaboration with March of Dimes: The Renée Schine Crown NICU at Rush University Medical Center is a March of Dimes NICU Family Support site. Through this program, March of Dimes supports families during their NICU stay, offering special educational resources, keepsakes and NICU parenting guides. NICU Family Support also provides education for hospital staff on best practices for family-centered care.  
  • Celebrating NICU “graduates": Each year Rush University Medical Center hosts a Preemie Picnic and NICU Graduate Reunion to celebrate former patients and their families. This event reunites the NICU's tiniest patients with their doctors, nurses, therapists and other NICU families. At the picnic, you’ll enjoy refreshments, games and crafts, photos and live music. 

 

    Conditions Treated

    If your baby was premature or born with a health condition, you may face a variety of medical issues. Our NICU providers will manage your baby’s treatment with compassionate and expert care. Our providers are specially trained to treat the following conditions:

    • Anemia
    • Bradycardia (Interrupted Breathing or Apnea)
    • Breathing Problems
    • Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia
    • Feeding Issues
    • Gastroschisis
    • Genetic Disorders
    • Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)
    • Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)
    • Intraventricular Hemorrhage (Bleeding in the Brain)
    • Jaundice
    • Macrosomia
    • Multiple Births
    • Necrotizing Enterocolitis
    • Neonatal Heart Conditions
    • Pneumonia
    • Premature Babies
    • Respiratory DIstress Syndrome (RDS)
    • Retinophathy of Prematurity (ROP)
    • Sepsis (Blood Stream Infection)

    If you need care for a condition not listed here, please call (888) 352-7874 to find a doctor who can help you.

    Tests

    Testing is an important part of your baby’s NICU care. Conducting tests will give us more information about your baby’s health and if treatments are working. Certain tests will require your permission, and all tests and treatments will be discussed with you during your regular visits with our providers.

    • Blood Test / Heel Stick
    • CAT Scan or CT Scan
    • Echocardiogram
    • EKG or ECG (Electrocardiogram)
    • Eye Exam
    • Car Seat Test
    • Hearing Screening
    • MRI
    • Newborn Screening Test
    • Oxygen Saturation
    • ROP Exam (Retinopathy of Prematurity)
    • Ultrasound
    • Urine Test
    • Weight Check
    •  X-Ray
    Treatments

    Your neonatologist will recommend treatments specific to your baby’s health conditions to promote growth and development. Working together, your NICU team will manage your baby’s care plan and discuss progress during your provider meetings.

    • Antibiotic Therapy
    • Blood Transfusion
    • Chest Tube Placement
    • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
    • Developmental Interventions
    • Endotracheal Intubation
    • Exchange Transfusion
    • Hemodynamic Monitoring
    • Hemodialysis
    • Intravenous Access and Maintenance
    • Nasogastic Tube (NG or Feeding Tube)
    • Oxygen Saturation Monitoring
    • Palliative Care
    • Pediatric Subspecialty Consultations
    • Perioneal Dialysis
    • Phototherapty (Bili Light)
    • PICC Line Placement
    • PO/Gavage Feeding
    • Pre- and Post-Operative Care
    • Respiratory Care Consultation
    • Skin-to-Skin Contact
    • Surfactant Administration
    • Surgery
    • Therapeutic Hypothermia (Whole Body Cooling)
    • Thermoregulation
    • Treatment and Support for Patients with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
    • Total Parenteral Nutrition
    • Umbilical Line Placement
    • Ventilator Management (including High Frequency Ventilation and Nitric-Oxide Treatment)

    Patient Stories

    Madison's story

    Madison was born seven weeks prematurely with hydrops – large amounts of fluid in her tissues and organs – and it was unlikely she would survive.
    Read More