Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
Affiliated with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Benioff Children’s Hospital and certified by the California Children’s Services, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Natividad is devoted to the newborn infant requiring specialized care. It provides stabilization of the initially ill newborn and intermediate intensive care and continuing care for growing newborns.
Two UCSF neonatologists/pediatricians – highly trained physicians in the care of ill newborns – oversee the NICU, offering families the security of knowing their infant receives the highest level of newborn care.
At Natividad’s NICU, we provide aggressive care when needed but eliminate ventilators, central lines and laboratory work as soon as it is safe to do so. We remove invasive support earlier than most NICUs, and as a result, discharge our smallest infants home earlier than the “average” NICU in California (per CPQCC data)*.
Our highly skilled neonatal nurse practitioners are in the hospital 24/7 in order to provide emergency care until our board-certified neonatologist arrives. Their presence adds an extra level of safety not found in any other NICU in Monterey County.
There is no need to transport any infant to a higher level of care due to birth weight or gestational age. We transport infants away from our NICU only for services/expertise not available in Monterey County. Our experienced neonatal transport team is capable of routine and emergency transports. We transport infants to our NICU from other Monterey County hospitals who need a higher level-of-care or for recovery care from our Tertiary Center, UCSF.
Our strong commitment to family, as part of the healing process, keeps parents and their children united throughout the treatment and recovery process.
We have a parent room so parents can stay and care for their infant as discharge draws near.
*Accounts for babies weighing less than 1500 grams (3 pounds, 5 ounces) or less than 30 weeks gestation- 45.6 days (2007), 38.2 days (2008), and 39.4 days (2009).
Premature and very low birth weight newborns receive the added attention of our four highly-skilled and trained staff members who administer retinopathy screening thirty days following birth. Results are sent to Stanford Medical Center for reporting and diagnosis, and consultations are done weekly.
The Natividad Interdisciplinary NICU Outpatient Services (NINOS) ensures the follow-up of high risk infants. The NINOS program tracks an infant for 3 years following discharge to assess developmental and physical needs, assuring that the children are meeting cognitive and physical milestones. Assessments include: developmental, family psychosocial, hearing, ophthalmologic, nutritional, and home assessments.
For 11 years, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Natividad has held a Level III designation from the California Department of Health, the highest designation in Monterey County. Our facility meets the strictest criteria and is staffed and equipped to care for critically ill infants. We have become known by other NICUs across the region as the place to which they refer their most seriously ill newborn patients.
The newborn care team provides care to babies in the unit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our team includes:
- UCSF neonatologists
- Neonatal nurse practitioners
- Nurses, including clinical nurse specialists, registered nurses, charge nurses, and case managers
- Specially trained respiratory care providers (RCPs)
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapists
- Feeding and nutrition specialists and dieticians
- Lactation consultants
- Social workers
- Family medicine resident physicians
- Advanced NICU care for premature and ill newborn babies
- High-frequency, conventional, and non-invasive ventilation
- Continuous hemodynamic and respiratory monitoring
- Cerebral function monitoring
- Customized intravenous nutrition (TPN)
- Neonatal echocardiography
- Monitoring and support of vital functions not available in a general pediatric department or community hospital nursery
Our neonatal transport capabilities allow us to bring infants to our NICU from other Monterey County hospitals. Our experienced neonatal transport team is capable of routine and emergency transports. We transport infants away from our NICU only for babies that need advanced cardiac care, surgical intervention, or sub specialty services not available in Monterey County.
Quality and Safety
Through our Program for Patient Safety and Quality, we continually monitor and improve the care we provide to our patients.
At Natividad, we believe that patients and families deserve to know whether the hospital where they have chosen to receive their care meets the highest standards and is committed to excellence.
Our strong commitment to family, as part of the healing process, keeps parents and their children united throughout the treatment and recovery process; parents are welcome 24/7.
We recognize the stress having a sick baby places on families, and our team of physicians, nurses, social workers, respiratory therapists, lactation consultants, and others work to provide a family-centered experience for patients and their families. As a commitment to family, parents and their children are kept together throughout the treatment and recovery process.
We understand a baby’s illness is a challenging and sometimes frightening experience, and we do everything we can to support the family:
- The most current treatments and technology for mother and baby
- Care provided by leading experts in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions before and after baby’s birth
- NICU support services for families
- NICU parent support group
- A parent room is available so parents can stay and care for their infant as discharge draws near