Care and Kindness Helps NICU Babies Thrive

Allegheny Health Network (AHN) hospitals are ready to care for babies, whenever they decide to come into the world. At West Penn Hospital, twin sisters Kavya and Aanya were born three and a half months early, weighing less than 2 pounds each. The West Penn Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was ready with the equipment and knowledgeable, gentle doctors and nurses to care for these fragile infants.

Soon after birth, the twins were sleeping, feeding, growing, and getting to know their mother and father. Their innate desire to thrive is living proof that all AHN patients need special care — even the tiniest ones.

Highest possible level of care

AHN provides two Level 3 NICUs; the highest possible level of care. Expectant parents:

  • Trust the advanced expertise of NICU doctors and nurses
  • Gain peace of mind because they know that we can care for sick or premature babies.

West Penn Hospital — the region’s largest referral center

West Penn Hospital cares for babies born here and for those who are transferred from hospitals in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.

  • Helicopter transfer available when needed.
  • Transfers are handled by a specialized neonatal transfer team.
  • Collaboration with Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh provides expertise in infant surgery, when needed.

New NICU at Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie

Saint Vincent Hospital has a Level 3, state-of-the-art, 10,000-square-foot NICU that includes:

  • 19 individual areas — one for each infant
  • Care from neonatologists and highly experienced neonatal intensive care nurses
  • A quieter, private environment for these infants to recover and bond with their families
  • Three specialized, nearby nursing stations
  • State-of-the-art advanced monitoring technology for central access to vital information

Each pod features infant beds that minimize the need to move fragile babies by converting from incubator to radiant warmer. These beds have:

  • A built-in X-ray cassette tray and scale
  • Warming drawers for diapers and blankets
  • Special environmental controls and silent alarms
  • Dual-access side ports that give parents the ability to touch and hold their baby 

Two AHN hospitals have Level 2 nurseries

These nurseries are designed for infants with medical needs who are not critically ill. They are at Forbes Hospital and Jefferson Hospital.

Babies at risk need parents at hand

Premature infants may spend up to 100 days in the NICU as they gain enough weight and complete their development. These babies have a higher-than-normal risk for breathing and neurological (nervous system) problems, infection, and other complications. Doctors and nurses encourage parents to be actively involved in their child’s care.

A neonatal developmental follow-up program helps support families of our NICU “graduates.”  An infant developmental specialist, neonatologist, physical therapist and social worker assess the development of NICU graduates and answer questions.

All about the NICU