Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has the well-known reputation of providing the very best care to sick and/or premature babies. We feature the highest level of neonatal nursing care in the North Bay with our accredited Community/Level III NICU. Our highly experienced medical and nursing and staffs help assure parents that their babies will have ready access to expert resources whenever necessary.
Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa has been accredited as a Community Level III NICU, by California Child Services (CSS). We provide a full range of medical care for severely ill and/or premature infants. Babies who are born up to three months early, or those requiring long-term support from a breathing machine can be expertly cared for here at SMCSR.
Sutter's NICU meets CCS requirements by offering 24-hour consultation to support our local hospitals. We also maintain a neonatal transport team that brings ill and or premature babies requiring specialty acute care services to the NICU. In addition, we offer special support services from CCS to assist with follow-up care of these special babies.
For families traveling from out of town to be with their sick newborns, we offer free lodging at the WCC House.
Our NICU nursing staff meets stringent educational and skill requirements set by CCS. Other members of the NICU multi-disciplinary team include a masters-trained social worker, a masters-trained neonatal/pediatric education specialist, and respiratory therapists with advanced training in neonatal care.
Chris Retajczyk, MD
Dr Retajczyk leads our NICU’s team of highly skilled neonatologists. Our team of specialty trained neonatolgoists are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to serve our smallest patients.
For more information, call Sutter Medical Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at (707) 576-4590.
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Neonatal Transport Service
Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa's neonatal transport service is designed to facilitate efficient access to appropriate levels of care, including Sutter's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and high-risk obstetrical program. As the only level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the Northern California community, referring hospitals and physicians know they can rely on our expert team to provide specialty acute care services where and when they are needed.
Sutter Medical Center's Neonatal Transport Team is made up of a neonatologist, NICU transport nurse, paramedic, and a pilot or EMT ambulance driver. Patients may be transported by plane, helicopter, or ground ambulance, depending on the patient's needs and local weather patterns.
In order to ensure timely response, we offer 24-hour clinical phone consultation and availability with a neonatologist or obstetrician. We are able to comply with the national standards of a 30 minute response time in activating the transport team to transport premature neonates and for neonates requiring long-term ventilation or specialized medical intervention.
For more information, call Sutter Medical Center's Neonatal Transport Service at (707) 576-4590.
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What is Kangaroo Care?
A way for parents to hold their premature infant(s). Also known as "skin-to-skin care."
Kangaroo Care is easy. You hold your baby skin-to-skin against your bare chest. Your clothes, soft blanket, or hospital gown create a warm, safe "pouch" for the baby.
Skin-to-skin care is a special way of holding your premature baby underneath your clothing, next to your skin. The baby is held with his head up against your chest. The baby wears only a diaper so you can feel the baby's skin next to your skin. Because your warm skin keeps the baby warm, you can hold the baby for a long time outside of the Isolette.
What are the benefits of holding my baby this way?
Holding your premature baby skin-to-skin gives you and your baby the chance to get to know each other better. You can feel the baby's body movements and feel his breathing and heart beat. The baby can snuggle next to your chest and feel loved and comforted by you.
How do mothers like skin-to-skin care?
Many mothers say that skin-to-skin care makes them feel closer to their premature baby and more self confident about holding and taking care of their baby. Mothers say that their breast milk comes in better and the babies learn to breast feed sooner. Many infants receiving skin-to-skin contact gain weight more quickly.
How can I prepare for Kangaroo Care?
- When your baby is medically stable, tell your baby's nurse that you would like to try skin-to-skin care. Both mother and father can participate in Kangaroo Care.
- Wear a front-opening shirt that can wrap around the baby and bring a pillow from home to help you feel more comfortable in the rocking chair.
- Shower or bathe the day you plan on holding the baby skin-to-skin. If you have a cold, flu, or any skin rashes or sores, you may not be able to hold the baby at that time; check with your baby's nurse.
- The nurse will help settle your baby in position against your chest and will stay nearby to make sure you and your baby feel comfortable and safe.
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Newborn admission procedures include checking the baby's temperature, heart rate, respiration and general condition. The baby is closely observed to make sure normal physiological changes are progressing smoothly.
After the baby's temperature stabilizes, the baby's first bath is given and a photograph is taken. A nurse will provide you with the information necessary to order photographs.
A small amount of blood is taken from your baby before discharge to test for hemoglobinopathy (a blood disorder), phenylketonuria (PKU), thyroid disease and galactosemia, diseases that can cause delays in mental development. If any of these diseases are discovered, developmental delays can be prevented or minimized by early identification and treatment.
Since babies have decreased blood-clotting ability for the first few days of life, a vitamin K injection is given to all babies to prevent excessive bleeding.
All babies receive erythromycin eye ointment within one hour of birth in order to prevent infections, some of which can cause blindness. It is possible for such infections to be present without any noticeable symptoms.
Family education is an important part of the postpartum program at Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa. We encourage you to start the education process during your pregnancy, as your time in the hospital is not usually long enough to thoroughly acquaint you with all of the things you will need to know when you go home. A nurse will review diapering, the baby bath, cord care, how to take your baby's temperature, how to recognize signs of infant illness and circumcision care, if applicable.
Our educational programs include a series of films made available at your leisure on the hospital's closed circuit television system (channel 11). Topics include baby care, postpartum care, car seat safety, breast-feeding and other topics. In addition, our lactation specialists are available to assist you in adopting a breast-feeding routine that works for you and your baby.
The drawer of your baby's hospital bassinet will contain all the necessary supplies for infant care during your hospital stay. You or your support person may assume as much of your baby's care as you like (and which your health care provider advises). Babies are fed upon demand. During your postpartum stay, you will receive a postpartum education kit, including information on baby care and your own postpartum care.
Our Family Care Philosophy
The staff at Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa provide a family-centered approach to your care that is designed to promote the health and well-being of mother, newborn and family. We recognize the importance of nurturing the essential parent/infant bond and have designed our nursing care to help facilitate the initial family bonding process. We believe the immediate postpartum period is a sensitive time, and extended contact between mother and newborn during this time has positive effects on the long-term mother-child relationship. To help facilitate this prcesss we practice mother-baby nursing. Mother-baby nursing care is provided by a single nurse each shift. This model of care reduces the institutional need to separate mothers' from their babies at this critical time in their lives. Research has shown the multiple benefits of mother-baby nursing care, including the following:
- Provides an environment for the parents to learn about their newborn's responses and sleep-wake cycle.
- Facilitates earlier establishment of biological rhythms with flexible feeding and sleeping according to individual newborn's needs.
- Fosters successful breast feeding and, thus, aids in postpartum healing.
- Decreases the incidence of infection.
- Provides individualized, one-to-one attention.
- Promotes the mother's role and maternal/infant attachment.
- Increases educational opportunities.
- Fosters continuity of care and reduction of confusion of messages between caregivers.
- Increases maternal self-confidence in the care of her newborn.
Although we emphasize the many benefits of keeping mother and baby together during the postpartum period, our newborn nursery is available should you need time alone. Please inform your nurse of your needs for nursery services so that she can plan your care during your stay with us.
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