Welcome To Our NICU Nursery!
The Wayne and Gladys Valley Newborn Intensive Care Unit
Giving birth to a child is a wonderful and exciting event. Parents are anxious and filled with hope for the future. But sometimes a pregnancy or birth might not go as planned. For these babies and families there is an extra special place to receive the additional care they need.
Welcome to a Tour of Our Newborn Intensive Care Unit
This uniquely designed Nursery started with a vision, that the family is most important in the life of a baby.
The NICU is located on the 4th Floor of the Alta Bates Campus (View Alta Bates Campus Map) in the city of Berkeley. Upon entering the unit you will be greeted at the front desk.
To your left is the Family Area, which includes a basic kitchen facility, breastfeeding room, and a limited number of rooms for parents, if necessary, to spend the night with their baby before going home. We believe that parents do not "visit" their baby in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Rather, they provide care and parenting.
As you travel down the hall, you'll find that the unit is divided into three major areas (pods). Each area is looked upon as a community, with its own nursing station, and comfortable chairs for family and siblings. Billowing clouds and fiber optic "stars" decorate the ceiling.
About Our Nursery
Alta Bates Summit is a pioneer in a new style of intensive care nursery, one which is designed to be supportive and nurturing of the infant and the family, one that involves parents as much as possible in the care of their baby, and one which provides a quieter, calmer environment than the traditional open ward style of other facilities.
All rooms are semi-private, allowing you the opportunity to spend time with your baby in a quiet setting. In addition, the lights in each room can be made brighter or dimmer. Studies have shown that controlling the environment (specifically lights and noise) can be beneficial to your growing infant.
Developmental Needs of Your Baby
In addition to the physical care your baby may require, the NICU also focuses on your infant's developmental needs. In the past, newborns were thought to be unaware of their environment and unable to interact with their caregivers. We now know that babies can see, hear, smell, taste, feel pain, and interact with their environment and their caregivers. Even premature and sick full-term infants are able to communicate with us by certain physiologic responses and behaviors.
One activity which encourages parental bonding and development is a technique called Kangaroo Care or Skin-to-Skin Holding. This direct physical contact can be done early in your baby's life.
Our Specialized Staff
Our unit boasts a skilled staff of Neonatologists (specially trained Physicians), Clinical Nurse Specialists, Neonatal Nurses, Respiratory Therapists, Social Workers, Discharge Planners and Audiologists. The family is considered an integral member of this specialized team.
Mapping Events in Your Baby's Development
One way of tracking your baby's journey through the Newborn Intensive Care Unit is done by using "CareMaps." CareMaps are timelines around which you may expect your baby to demonstrate a specific developmental milestone. We have found that the maps help families focus on their baby's progressing developmental growth.
Our CareMaps are based on years of observing infants as they have moved through our unit. We use these maps on most of our babies, and we continue to collect data on all infants less than 33 weeks gestational age. By continuing to collect this data, we hope to always be increasing our knowledge of the preterm baby, and how to better customize their care for optimal outcomes.
The NICU - A Very Special Place!
The joys of bringing a new life into this world, of starting a family, of fulfilling a dream for the future, must sometimes be put on hold when a baby is born sick or premature. It is a difficult time for the family. There are many stresses associated with an early or difficult birth. Concern for the infant's health, coupled with a parent's sense of guilt or hopelessness, may make this situation seem overwhelming.
During this most difficult time, the staff and physicians at the NICU look after both you and your baby, respecting and nurturing the bond between the two of you.
- Exceptional medical care
- Nurturing your baby's developmental needs
- Supporting the bond between you and your baby
These are the things that make the NICU at the Alta Bates Campus a very special place.