Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Team Members
Premature infants and sick full term infants, who require a lengthy stay in the hospital, are at an increased risk for developmental delays. Developmental therapy services are provided in the NICU at ACH. Developmental therapy service providers in our NICU include: physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and child life specialists. Starting therapy during the hospital stay can prevent developmental delays and reduce developmental delays. All of the developmental therapists in the NICU serve as resources to parents, caregivers and other healthcare providers by offering ongoing training and education. A referral from the doctor is necessary before a baby can receive therapy services. These therapy services are tailored to meet each baby's specific needs.
Physical Therapists in the NICU help infants with:
- increased or decreased tone
- decreased range of motion
- gross motor needs
Occupational Therapists in the NICU help infants with:
- feeding difficulties
- oral stimulation/oral motor activities
- poor joint positioning
- increased or decreased tone
- fine motor needs
Speech-Language Pathologists in the NICU help infants with:
- reduced opportunities for interaction & communication
- decreased ability to tolerate interaction
- decreased level of alertness and decreased responses to interactions
- feeding difficulties especially those associated with cleft lip/palate or other craniofacial anomaly
- oral stimulation/oral motor activities especially those associated with cleft lip/palate or other craniofacial anomaly
Child Life Specialists in the NICU:
- provide education and training for medical tests, procedures and surgeries
- promote normal growth and development through play activities
- parent activities, such as scrapbook groups & infant massage education
- scheduling the presence of volunteers
- assistance with sibling visits and preparing for sibling visits
- assistance with death/dying issues for families including siblings
- Click here for more information about Child Life's role at ACH
Social Workers in the NICU
- provide emotional support to families who are dealing with adjustment of having a baby in the hospital, having a baby with a new diagnosis, or grief/loss issues
- problem-solving with families who have financial/transportation obstacles
- provide information about community/hospital resources or mental health needs
- coordinate services with community agencies in dealing with families who require assistance with violent, neglectful, or risky home environments
- advocate for families and patients
- part of medical team in addressing psychosocial problems
- mediate during family situations and conflicting dynamics in promoting patient safety
Neonatologist, Pediatrician or Attending Physician - This is the leader of the team. He/she is a pediatrician with special training in the care of neonates (newborns).
Resident - A physician who has completed medical school and is training to become a pediatrician under the supervision of the neonatologist.
Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) - A Registered Nurse with advanced education in the care of neonates who operates under the supervision of a neonatologist.
Team Leader (Charge Nurse) - Registered Nurse who acts as "Charge Nurse" for the NICU.
Staff Nurse - a Registered or Licensed Practical Nurse who has special training to care for neonates.
Lactation Consultant - A Registered Nurse with additional education in subjects related to breastfeeding.
Patient Care Manager - Oversees care delivery in the unit .
Patient Care Technician - Assists with the non-technical care of patients such as feeding, bathing, and obtaining vital signs.
Respiratory Therapist - Experts in the respiratory care of neonates and the equipment used to provide that care.
Occupational Therapist/Speech Therapist/Physical Therapist - Work with the babies to improve development including feeding, positioning, etc.
Registered Dietitians - Calculate estimated needs for calories, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals and recommend formulas and supplements. They help families with WIC paperwork, formula, and supplements at discharge and provide feeding guidance for families after discharge.
Social Worker - supports the family in an effort to fill needs related to transportation, communication, finances, and resources.
Secretary - provides information related to meal tickets for breastfeeding moms, directions to areas of the hospital, and visitation policies.