Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Elizabeth provides award-winning care unsurpassed by any other facility in the state or region. We were the first hospital in the nation to receive two Gold Seals of Approval™ from The Joint Commission for our NICU and high-risk obstetrics. In addition, we are one of only six hospitals in the nation to receive this award for pre-term labor and one of only nine hospitals to receive the award for prematurity. No other hospital in Nebraska can claim the level of excellence and quality that you’ll find at St. Elizabeth.

Advanced resources

Our NICU offers 27 all-private rooms specially designed for premature babies. Each room features:

  • High-frequency oscillating ventilators to help tiny premature lungs breathe easier.
  • State-of-the-art infant monitors that automatically send quiet, wireless alarms directly to the baby’s nurse to signal a potential problem.
  • Adjustable light and sound levels.
  • Three areas for oxygen and other vital hookups to give you the freedom to hold and cuddle your baby away from the bassinet.
  • An internet-based camera system allowing parents and families to see and interact with their baby in the NICU via live video streaming and direct, one-way audio.
  • A video library with information on the unique challenges of infants in intensive care, their expected developmental process, and caring for them at home.

After discharge, the St. Elizabeth NICU provides follow-up clinics for three years to help you be sure your child reaches their maximum developmental levels.

Neonatal Transport Team

Newborns in critical health situations can be moved by either ambulance or helicopter to St. Elizabeth with the assistance of our Neonatal Transport Team. The team includes neonatal nurse practitioners and experienced registered nurses, poised to offer advanced care to critically ill newborns and babies up to three months of age. Care is initiated by the transport team upon their arrival at the referring facility and continued throughout the transport and admission to the NICU. The team is available 24/7.

Discharge Criteria

St. Elizabeth maintains general guidelines that determine when a baby is ready to be discharged from the NICU. Of course, each baby’s situation is different and there are many factors to consider—your care provider will use these guidelines and their professional expertise to determine when your baby is ready to go home.

  • Baby is able to maintain a normal and stable temperature in a crib.
  • Baby is able to take all feedings by nursing, bottle, or a combination.
  • Baby shows a consistent, appropriate weight gain for several days while taking all feedings by nursing, bottle, or a combination.
  • Baby is event free for 5 – 10 days—this means no apnea (pauses in breathing), bradycardia (slow heart rate), or desaturation (change in color).

There is no specific weight requirement for discharge. Hospital stays can last days or months depending on a baby’s individual circumstances, and some babies may need to go home with special equipment such as an apnea monitor or oxygen.