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Friday, April 13, 2012

NICU Rules

Each NICU will have different rules. When my son was in the NICU, I did have to visit another NICU ward and was surprised at, even in my brief visit, how different some of the rules can be. For our NICU there was no pamphlet or any written information, we had to learn it as we went. Here's what I found to be the key things to learn

  • When can I visit my son?
  • What do I need to ask permission to do?
  • Can I talk, sing, touch my son?
  • Is there somewhere private for my wife to express milk?
  • Is there somewhere to store my things?
  • Can I ask the doctors/nurses questions?
  • Can visitors come? What are the requirements? Who can and can’t come to visit?
  • The hand washing regime, and also putting on medical gowns before seeing my son (don’t forget to take them off like I did once, walking down the street in my medical gown!)

There are also processes for handling unusual requests. For example, I wanted to play the guitar for my son. I asked one of the nurses, who asked the charge nurse, who asked the doctor, who said it had to go to the head of pediatric care in the hospital! Eventually I got the all clear.

If your NICU doesn’t have any information then you’ll have to ask and learn. But don’t take anything for granted (the grandparents, for example, might only be able to visit at certain hours, or one at a time, or even might have to look through a window into the NICU and not be allowed to enter).

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