New parents are excited to bring their baby home with them, so it can be frightening if your newborn needs to stay in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or a Special Care Nursery.

LDS Hospital Maternal/ Newborn and Special Care Nursery Manager Tonya Schaffer, RN, MBA, joined us to explain the difference between the two and the levels of care. 

Nurseries are categorized into three main levels of care:

Level I: Well newborn nurseries

Level II: Special care nursery

Level III: Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)

What is a Special Care Nursery?

When an infant is not well enough to go home with their mother following birth, LDS Hospital will place the infant in the special care nursery where infants are given 24-hour pediatric care from their support team.

What’s the Difference Between a NICU and Special Care Nursery?

Facilities with a NICU provide care for babies born at less than 32 weeks or those requiring the highest level of care. Those born prematurely, but greater than 32 weeks will likely require care in a Special Care Nursery. Typically, infants in the Special Care Nursery have not yet developed all the skills they need to go home, or may have conditions that require additional treatment such as jaundice, low oxygen levels, or need antibiotics. 

Can I Care for My Baby While in a Special Care Nursery?

LDS Hospital’s Special Care Nursery not only provides around the clock care for your infant but also the following:

  1. Breastfeeding support
  2. Privacy for the mom to spend alone time with her new baby
  3. Nurses and physicians are available to provide answer to your questions

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