At Temple, we hold a special place in our hearts for infants. Our goal is to help babies get better as soon as possible so that they can go home healthy to their families.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (also known as the NICU or the Infant Intensive Care Nursery/IICN) at Temple University Hospital offers specialized care for sick or premature babies. The NICU is located on the third floor of the Rock Pavilion, close to the Delivery Room and the Mother-Baby Unit. It is a Level III unit with 25 beds, staffed 24 hours a day and equipped to manage the conditions of most critically ill newborns. Our experienced and compassionate team members work together to deliver excellent health outcomes that exceed the national average for critically ill newborns.*
Each year, our team provides specialized care for about 400 babies. Many of these newborns are born prematurely — before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Some may need special medical care because of respiratory, cardiac, feeding, neurologic, and other problems related to prematurity. We also care for babies from our regular nursery if they develop complications and must be transferred to our NICU.
Other important facts to know about our Infant Intensive Care Nursery:
- We care for babies born as early as 23 weeks of pregnancy.
- Many of our premature babies have a birthweight of about 1 pound, and we care for babies as small as 12 ounces (0.75 lbs)
- Temple University Hospital is a Center for Excellence for opioid use disorder. The NICU team works with physicians from the TRUST Clinic, who take a welcoming, nonjudgmental approach to caring for those with opioid use disorder, helping mothers both pre- and post-birth about breastfeeding and caring for their new babies.
Personalized Support for Infant Respiratory Issues and Other Conditions
The babies in our NICU typically have breathing problems related to their respiratory system, which are often a result of their underdeveloped lungs. These babies may need ventilator care and other critical treatments for a while to help them breathe.
One example of a breathing problem we commonly treat is respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). Babies born with RDS lack a substance in their lungs called surfactant, which helps their lungs fully expand so that they can breathe. Without surfactant, their lungs collapse and they struggle to breathe. Surfactant, along with other treatments are given to babies with RDS.
A Dedicated Team Approach to Newborn Care
When you choose to deliver your baby at Temple, an experienced team of specially trained doctors and clinical staff will be by your side if your baby needs treatment in our NICU.
Our team approach means that many specialists will work together with the goal of giving your baby the best possible care. Your baby’s care team may include:
- Physician neonatologists (doctors specially trained in newborn intensive care)
- Neonatal physician assistants
- Neonatal nurses, some of whom have worked in our NICU for almost 30 years
- Respiratory therapists
- Social workers
- Unit clerks
Spend More Time With Your Family
We support families and babies spending as much time together as possible in the NICU. You can visit the nursery daily and hold your baby. We encourage you to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby whenever possible. This practice – known as kangaroo care – promotes bonding and breastfeeding.
Expanded Support Services to Meet You and Your Baby's Health Needs
Postpartum counseling and breastfeeding support services are available to you if you’d like to take advantage of them. Other services offered include:
- Kangaroo care
- Nutritional support
- Primary nursing
- Ophthalmology (eye specialists)
- Infant CPR care
- Speech therapy
- Physical therapy
- Scrapbook journaling
If you would like to join a support group for families with ill or premature babies, we can help you connect with one. If you’re interested in spiritual care and guidance, we also have chaplains on site.
Research Innovation Leads to Quality Newborn Care
Our team of specialists takes part in research that seeks to improve the quality of care for critically ill newborns. Their research activities have included quality improvement projects involving new approaches to treating newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome, which babies can develop if they are exposed to opioids while in the womb. This quality improvement initiative goes hand in hand with our welcoming and nonjudgmental approach to caring for mothers with substance-use disorders and their babies.