Special Care Nursery
A Special Care Nursery is a dedicated area of the hospital’s Labor & Delivery department that treats newborn babies who are premature (delivered earlier than 35 weeks of gestation), underweight (generally less than 4 lbs at birth) or who are sick and need special care and attention before they can go home.
As a Special Care Nursery, UM Prince George’s Hospital Center is specially equipped to handle premature births as early as 32 weeks and very sick babies who may need extra help breathing while their lungs continue to develop or getting extra nutrients to help them gain weight. We also work with babies who require antibiotic and IV therapy.
Our 16 bed Special Care Nursery is staffed 24/7 by board-certified and board-eligible neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners and neonatal nurses who are specially trained to care for the sickest newborn babies. Our nurses are all certified in Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) and S-T-A-B-L-E, which stands for Sugar, Temperature, Airway, Blood pressure, Lab work and Emotional support. STABLE is a nationally recognized program that provides a framework and protocol to help neonatal healthcare providers recognize, interpret and manage the many interventions that a sick or premature infant may encounter.
We practice family-centered care in our Special Care Nursery, meaning all our clinical staff has not only the skills required to care for sick babies, but also compassion for the babies they care for and the parents who need help during a very stressful time.
Special Help for Special Babies
Our Special Care Nursery is led by neonatologists who work in partnership with a team of specialists who are experts in a wide range of health concerns that many newborn and premature babies require, including:
- Occupational therapists
- Respiratory therapists
- Specially-trained neonatal nurses
Our Special Care Nursery team is highly skilled in caring for neonatal conditions such as:
- Breathing problems
- Developmental issues
- Feeding or nutrition problems
- Low birth weight
- Genetic diagnoses
In those rare situations where the baby needs surgical intervention or other specialized care, we have immediate access to the Level IV NICU at University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.
New Parent Education
As part of our program, our neonatal nurses provide parent education on how to take care of your newborn baby. This is especially important if your baby is going home with special needs or is especially small. We work with you so that you will know how to feed your baby, change the diaper, take a temperature, and bathe and clothe your baby. We also help you learn your baby’s cues so you will know when he or she is trying to tell you they’re cold, it’s noisy, they are hungry, or their diaper is dirty. We also provide:
- Breastfeeding/lactation consultants to help moms with breastfeeding and pumping
- Breastfeeding pumps, insulated cooler bags for milk storage and transport, and one-on-one breastfeeding support
- Infant CPR education for parents so they are more able to care for their newborn.
We want you to go home with the confidence that you have all the skills to take care of your newborn, regardless of the reason they were in the Special Care Nursery to begin with.