Thursday, October 6, 2011

Princess Preemie Primer: NICU Levels

Its Princess Preemie Primer Thursday again!  Please don't forget that November is Prematurity Awareness Month and 11.17.11 is World Prematurity Day.  To find ways to take part, check out this previous post for more information.  Mommy to a Princess is going purple for the cause and dedicating a month to prematurity awareness.  Be sure to check out awesome guests posts and what I hope will be a great giveaway!

Did you know that there are four levels of the newborn intensive care unit?  I had no idea until we were faced with the fact that Roxy had to be transferred from a Level II to a Level III.  
Roxy in the Level III NICU

Level I is basic neonatal care.  This would be the nursery in any medical facility that has inpatient maternity care or a birthing center.  Basically, a Level I would provide services of evaluating newborns, providing postnatal care, performing newborn resuscitation, and stabilizing a newborn for transfer to a better-equipped facility.  

Level II is also known as special care nurseries.  Roxy was discharged from a Level II nursery.  A Level II basically performs the same functions as the Level I as well as taking care of moderately ill infants who are expected to make a quick recovery as well as being the "step-down" nursery for those coming from a Level III nursery, as was Roxy's case.

Roxy in the Level II NICU before discharge
Level III is where we spent a great chunk of our 67-day NICU stay.  A quiet and dark place with a lot of beep-beeps from machines and occasional alarms filled with microhumans cozy in false wombs fighting to live.  A Level III is called a subspecialty NICU and they care for critically ill and extremely premature infants as well as infants who may require surgery.  

Level IV is not as common and are usually seen in regional academic medical centers.  They can make advance diagnoses and perform treatment of fetuses, premature infants and newborns with complicated issues.  

So there you have it.  A primer on what type of NICUs you may find in your local hospital.  For more information, visit the sources I used here and here.

So, where did your preemie stay?  A Level II or Level III?  How long was he/she there?


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