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baby in nicu

When you have a critically ill newborn, you want and need the best possible care for your baby. WakeMed's Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery offers the highest level of care available to premature and critically ill babies in Wake County.  

WakeMed’s highly specialized Level IV Regional NICU offers:

  • 48 patient beds, including 27 single private rooms and eight rooms that accommodate multiples (twins and triplets)
  • Full-time neonatologists – Specialists in the care of critically ill babies
  • Full-time perinatologists – Specialists in treating high-risk pregnancies
  • A team of neonatal, pediatric and family practice nurse practitioners
  • Highly skilled neonatology staff, including pediatric psychologists, child development specialists, speech-language pathologists, registered nurses and PhD-level physical therapists
  • Lactation consultants
  • WakeMed Mother’s Milk Bank – Direct access to one of the few human milk donation programs in the country and the only one in the southeast
  • Special Infant Care Program for outpatient follow-up 
  • Special neonatal delivery team 
  • Dedicated neonatal respiratory therapists

What Makes Us Special

Single-Room Care

We are the only single patient room NICU in the Triangle. Single-room care in the NICU represents an extension of WakeMed's focus on patient- and family-centered care to our tiniest patients. This format allows families to spend almost unlimited time with their baby in a developmentally appropriate space and provides privacy to facilitate breast feeding.

The rooms are outfitted with chairs specially designed to facilitate kangaroo care, which encourages skin-to-skin holding. Additionally, the room allows for one parent to comfortably stay overnight with the baby and supports family visitation.

Our Experience

WakeMed's Level IV NICU has been caring for premature and critically ill babies since 1973, admitting more than 600 infants each year. 

NIDCAP Training Center & Developmentally Supportive Care

WakeMed is also home to the Carolina Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) Training Center and was the fourth NIDCAP-certified nursery in the world. This esteemed certification is a reflection of WakeMed's dedication to neonatal developmentally-centered care and focus on patient- and family-centered care. As a NIDCAP Training Center, we invite you to visit www.nidcap.org for more resources and sources of support for parents and families.

A Highly-Skilled Care Team Incorporating Families into Care

We offer a team of highly skilled doctors, specialists and nursing staff that are all committed to providing excellent patient care and ensuring the parental involvement in the care of their baby.

Parents are an essential part of their child's care at WakeMed.  We also live by the Preemie's Bill of Rights.

Parent Respite Areas

The WakeMed NICU offers two parent and family lounges with areas for older siblings to play and family showers. These lounges are also meant to be a central gathering area to foster parental camaraderie and interaction - another means of support during the stressful NICU experience.

Garden of Life Theme

The theme for our unit is "Garden of Life" which includes artwork, lighting and colors inspired by nature to create an environment that is conducive for physical and emotional growth. Patient rooms are arranged in neighborhoods to foster parental unity, camaraderie, and interaction to facilitate the healing process.

NICU Advisory & Parent Support Group

The NICU Advisory & Parent Support (NAPS) of WakeMed Health & Hospitals is a parent–led initiative with the NICU staff developed to promote the concepts of family-centered care; to advise WakeMed administration and staff on patient needs and medical center priorities from a family perspective concerning ongoing issues parents of pre-term babies face while their children are in the NICU and post-discharge; and to educate and empower families about their role in their child’s care.

There are also regularly planned meals offered by the NICU and The Ronald McDonald House that are held in the Family Room inside the NICU. Spiritual Care is available for families who would like it and bereavement support is available for families who suffer a loss of their child.

Beyond the Nursery – A Lifelong Impact 

The WakeMed NICU team also follows high-risk children for up to three years in an outpatient clinic setting. This developmental support is provided for babies who are born prematurely and others who may be at risk due to medical conditions or treatments received in the NICU.