Neonatal intensive care: what it is and how it works

Neonatal intensive care: what it is and how it works
Fonte: shutterstock

Tin is the acronym of Neonatal intensive care and it is the department where the medical and surgical pathologies of the preterm infant or come to term of pregnancy. It is comparable to an intensive care for adults where, however, newborns are hospitalized.

In this article

  • How it works
  • Who works there
  • How long does the baby have to stay there
  • The role of parents
  • When you need it

How does the Tin

Not all hospitals are equipped with this department, because they do not always have all the specialties necessary to assist young patients. In addition, over the years we have tried to create a few specialized centers in order to accumulate experience in the care of newborns and increase the chances of their survival without disability.

The results of the last 20 years

"Thanks to the experience gained in the last 20 years in these special wards, today it has been possible to make newborns survive up to 23-24 weeks of gestation, which corresponds to about half the normal duration of a pregnancy, and weighing even less than 750 grams. Among other things, in the best centers more than 50% of extremely premature babies have a normal development »explains Dr. Stefano Martinelli, director of Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care of the Great Niguarda Metropolitan Hospital in our city. Read also: Preterm Infants: Risk Factors and Treatments. Everything you need to know

Within the Neonatal Intensive Care all the pathologies that can affect newborns are treated, in order to offer them complete assistance.

«The ward is equipped with highly technological instruments, such as monitors, mechanical respirators and infusion pumps, which are essential to keep young patients alive who have immaturity in the functioning of organs and systems; immaturity which are all the more serious the sooner the birth has taken place than the presumed date of birth ".

Who works inside the Tin

Inside this structure he works highly specialized staff in the area neonatal: from surgeons, ophthalmologists, cardiologists, pediatric cardiac surgeons, to nurologists, neurosurgeons and anesthetists, always pediatric. "In many cases, the success of the therapies depends precisely on the synergies that are created between the various specialists" continues the expert.

Of particular importance is the role of nurses who attended specific training schools to work in this ward: «Their work is essential to assist newborns who need continuous care. Given their high specialization, they can provide doctors with very important information on the clinical conditions of the children with whom they are constantly in contact ».

How long does the baby stay in the NICU

«The stay in Tin of the newborn depends on the moment in which it is born and on its conditions. They usually stay in this ward for several weeks: in more complex cases, even 4-5 months and, sometimes, even longer ».

When their conditions stabilize, they are discharged: "But given the long hospital stay, they need an adequate follow up to monitor their health and development conditions afterwards ».

Read also: Cradles that can be monitored with smartphones have arrived in the neonatal intensive care unit

The role of parents in neonatal intensive care

"One of the most important features of this ward is the possibility given to parents to be close to their child 24 hours a day. This is a decisive element for them and for their child's recovery" underlines Martinelli.

As soon as the clinical conditions allow it, then, a series of collateral therapies precisely in order to develop the relationship between the parents and the child: «For example the pouch therapy, therefore skin-to-skin contact between mom or dad and the baby, even if ventilatory support is needed. It has been shown, in fact, that this type of contact improves the clinical condition of the child, in particular his state of oxygenation ».

Read also: Music enters NICU

Another fundamental point, to which particular attention is paid in Tin is the stimulation of breastfeeding: "Breast milk, in fact, guarantees safety for the good continuation of care, even more than what happens for a full-term newborn".

When the neonatal intensive care unit is needed

The Tin is fundamental in the case of a preterm birth, while "in physiological full-term pregnancies, it may not be a criterion for choosing a hospital to be born in - continues the doctor -. The important thing is to ensure that there is a neonatal transport system organized and structured in such a way that if the newborn needs more intensive care, a prompt and safe transfer can be provided to the Tin of another hospital ".

To learn more:

  • premature babies
  • all about premature babies
  • premature babies, how mom and dad feel
  • stories of premature babies
  • premature babies, the possible risks to life
  • premature babies, risk factors and treatments
  • premature babies, 10 things to know
  • the Charter of the Rights of the Premature Child

  • neonatal intensive care
  • first year
  • premature babies
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