Monument Health protects NICU babies in the midst of pandemic

RAPID CITY, S.D. — September is Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Awareness Month.

This year is especially challenging for NICU babies and their parents due to the added concerns with COVID-19.

Babies are among the most vulnerable when it comes to getting sick and some hospitals had to change their visitor policies for parents and newborns.

Monument Health shares that they faced some challenges, specifically with NICU babies, who often aren’t carried to term and may have weaker immune systems depending on their conditions

“All the caregivers in our NICU wear masks at all times and goggles when they’re near the babies. Of course. Just like at all times, nobody is allowed to come to work sick,” says Nanette Fitzgerald, a NICU nurse supervisor.

One concern with premature babies is not only a compromised immune system, but also lung development which can be one of the last organs to fully develop.

The coronavirus attacks the lungs, so the NICU is taking all precautions necessary.

This also includes limiting contact with outsiders. Solely caretakers and the two designated visitors are permitted in the NICU.

“The babies are allowed two visitors for the duration of their stay, so either the parents or the mother and whoever she designates,” shares Fitzgerald.

All people that enter the NICU are screened, with temperature checks and various questions regarding COVID-19.

Any NICU baby that tests positive is put in its own separate NICU room.

As the number of cases continue to fluctuate, these policies in place are subject to change.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News