The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) cares for premature, underweight and/or sick babies requiring the highest level of care after birth.
When Forrest General's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) opened its doors on October 1, 1977, it was a very small area only able to accommodate a few babies. Today, the NICU consists of a total of 25 beds, divided between an intensive care unit, intermediate care nursery and isolation room for critically-ill infants. The NICU is supported by three neonatologists, a nurse practitioner and highly-skilled nurses, respiratory therapists and acute and advanced care techs.
Once the infants have stabilized, they are often transferred to a "step down" unit known as the Intermediate Nursery. Both units are specially-equipped and staffed by neonatologists, nurse practitioners, and nurses skilled in neonatal intensive care. Currently, an unoccupied patient care unit centrally located on the fourth floor is undergoing an extensive renovation to provide our facility with Mississippi's first private-room NICU. This family-centered design will offer families an opportunity to "room in" throughout their infant's stay.
Infants who are born prematurely or are very sick at birth are at risk for delays in their early developmental skills, motor skills, physical strength, and later learning abilities. That's why Forrest General continues to monitor NICU graduates for two years through the Neonatal Follow-up Clinic - another part of Forrest General's comprehensive care provided to premature infants. Forrest General is the only hospital in Mississippi to offer the Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP), a partnership with The University of Southern Mississippi's Institute for Disability Studies.
The NICU is also the center of the Neonatal Transport Program which utilizes a new, dedicated neonatal transport vehicle. The new transport vehicle is designed to transport up to two sick newborns and a parent from the hospital's 17-county service area quickly and safely to Forrest General, which treats non-surgical, critically-ill newborns. Forrest General's Neonatal Transport team was formed in 1994, making it the second-oldest transport team of its kind in Mississippi.
Life's Little Miracles is a beautiful mural, lovingly painted by local artist and NICU graduate Kym Garraway. The mural offers families an opportunity to honor a baby by placing their name on a portion of the mural. This project, designed and implemented by the Forrest General Healthcare Foundation, raises funds for the expansion and renovation of the NICU and offers families a unique way to honor a special baby. Many animals, plants and celestial objects are still available on the mural, and there is room for expansion. For more information on this project or for information on how to purchase an honorarium, contact the Forrest General Healthcare Foundation at 601-288-4396, or click here.
For more information on Forrest General's nurseries, call FGH OnCall at 1-800-844-4445, then press 1, from 2 - 10 p.m., seven days a week, or send an e-mail.
Dr. Clint White, neonatologist, with a NICU patient
A former NICU patient and his family stop by the mural to see his name painted on a fox.