Highest Level of NICU Care
Cook Children's offers the highest level neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Our care goes beyond just having the most advanced technology and high-level treatments for medically complex babies. We offer personalized treatments for the one child who matters most: yours.
What Level IV NICU care means
There are four levels of neonatal intensive care that indicate the type of treatment and care the NICU can provide. Not all NICUs can offer the same care, especially for medically fragile babies.
Cook Children's is a Level IV NICU, which is the highest level of neonatal care available. To be designated as a Level IV NICU, a facility must have:
- Pediatric subspecialists, including pediatric surgical specialists, pediatric anesthesiologists and pediatric ophthalmologists on site and always available
- A location inside a hospital that can provide surgery for complex conditions present at birth or that develop shortly after delivery
- Patient transport capabilities to bring medically fragile newborns from other NICUs or medical facilities
- The ability to provide ongoing life support, including respiratory (breathing) support, imaging and cardiac care
At Cook Children's, our nurses and support staff are trained in the specialized care needed for medically fragile infants. That includes procedures for preemies, micro preemies and babies with congenital conditions or abnormalities.
Specialists in all areas of neonatal care
Neonatal care is a highly specialized area of medicine. Babies—especially those born early—have tiny, fragile bodies that are different from a healthy, full-term newborn. Their hearts can be as small as a peanut and their veins as thin as kite strings. Our nurses have years of experience using advanced NICU technology to provide the best care for babies born as early as 23 weeks or as small as one pound.
Extensive neonatal training
Our physicians and advanced practice providers complete additional training in neonatal-specific care. They participate in continuing medical education (CME) each year to learn about the latest advancements in NICU treatment.
Each of our nurses go through an extensive orientation process to learn Cook Children's standards and protocols for working with NICU babies. Our nurses work with only a small number of patients at a time so they can stay focused on the care your child needs. Babies with more complex medical needs receive one-to-one care from a dedicated nurse.
Team approach to neonatal care
In addition to physicians and nurses, our care team includes:
- Lactation specialists to help new moms pump and store milk, and assist with breastfeeding when the time comes
- Physical therapists who position and hold the baby in ways that help them develop proper movements, regular sleep cycles and the ability to self-soothe
- Occupational therapists who evaluate babies for sensory, motor or developmental concerns, and help parents bond with a new baby through developmental milestones
- Respiratory therapists who manage infants on high-flow nasal cannula or mechanical ventilation
- Social workers to coordinate things like lodging, mental health needs and other services for families with babies in the NICU
- Care managers to prepare parents and patients for discharge with instructions and training on how to run equipment or schedule follow-up care
Continuity of care beyond the NICU
When your baby is ready to leave the NICU, Cook Children's has a network of pediatricians and pediatric specialists available for you. We'll help you transition from inpatient NICU care to outpatient care with the experts your baby needs. We work together with many other physicians and medical professionals to ensure your child has the ongoing care and support they need to thrive.
Support for siblings and parents
Having a child in the NICU affects the whole family. In addition to caring for your newborn, we offer support for parents, family members and siblings. Our Child Life specialists work with siblings and family members to include them in caring for the newborn baby.
We're here to help
Watch a video tour of our NICU, or call 682-885-4375 to speak with a member of our team. You can find NICU referral and appointment contact information here.