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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Providing peace-of-mind for parents of critically ill newborns

Pediatric NICU: Caring for Fragile Lives

The birth of a baby is a joyous time. But sometimes complications arise during pregnancy or birth. For families facing uncertainty, Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida focuses on providing the finest care for your precious little ones.

Premature births, congenital diseases, and other potentially serious health concerns are just some of the reasons why a fully staffed neonatal intensive care unit is vital to the health of our community.

A Safe Space and Support

There’s no agenda or presentation. “This group is called HOPE, which stands for helping our parents engage in life, and it’s a support group for parents who have a baby in the NICU,” explained Heather Payne, a bereavement coordinator with Lee Health. HOPE offers families a safe space to connect with others who understand exactly what they’re going through. “The focus of HOPE is a little different. It’s more of a support group atmosphere where parents can meet with me, and they can just talk about their experiences, their fears, their challenges, and interact with other parents, who even though their stories are different, they are all experiencing the same journey,” she said. The new program started in January by a NICU mom. Studies show moms who have babies in the NICU are at a higher risk of suffering post-partum depression. And dads are at a higher risk of suffering from PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. “There’s still a whole grief process that goes along with not having the baby food commercial baby. Some of them didn’t get to do their gender reveal. They didn’t get to have their baby shower. Their whole view of what parenting was going to be like has been changed drastically,” said Payne. But HOPE gives parents a chance to get out of their hospital room and bond with other families. “A lot of their time is spent being there for their baby and being strong for their baby, and for them to just have an opportunity to let that go for a moment and focus on their needs and their concerns is so important for them,” she said. While the group may walk in as strangers, they can spend a few hours sharing milestones and success stories, and leave as friends. Giving families HOPE and support while their baby is in the NICU.

Level III Facility

Specializing in the care of critically ill children throughout Southwest Florida, our NICU is a Level III facility that has been designated a Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Center by the Florida Department of Children's Medical Services, one of only 11 such centers in the state and the only one in our region.

Our health care professionals specialize in caring for infants with medical complications. Our dedicated team of board certified neonatologists, neonatal ICU nurses, nurse practitioners, respiratory and occupational therapists, and dietitians are all experienced in caring for an ill infant’s special needs.

Whole Health Approach

Our scope of care doesn’t end with a newborn’s physical well-being. Hospital chaplains and social workers provide spiritual and emotional support, and The Ronald McDonald House helps families with a place to stay.

Additionally, special volunteers affectionately known as "cuddlers" are trained to be with sick newborns to give them the warmth of human touch during those times when parents can’t be there.

Primary Care Pediatricians

When your baby is released from the NICU, a pediatrician will oversee their continued care. If you have not chosen a pediatrician, we recommend you do so before leaving the hospital.

Your pediatrician will help you schedule your baby’s first well-check visit. This appointment should take place within one to three days after going home from the hospital.

To reach the NICU, call 239-343-5124.

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