Neonatal Intensive Care:
Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is the only Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the tri-county area. The NICU staff, including neonatologists, neonatal nurses, therapists, and pharmacy staff work together to keep you informed and provide support while providing the highest level of care for your baby.
We understand that for every ill baby in the NICU, there is a family that needs support. You’ll be comforted to know that our Level II NICU has neonatologists available 24/7. Our neonatologists and neonatal nurses will keep you fully informed and answer all questions regarding your baby’s health.
While in the NICU, we will also provide guidance in making breastfeeding decisions and help you plan ahead for discharge when your baby is healthy and ready to head home.
The Neonatal Transport Team
Our NICU transport team consists of registered nurses, respiratory therapists and a Neonatologist who are specially trained in the management and transport of critically ill and premature newborns. The transport team will safely deliver your baby to NICU at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.
The Medical & Nursing Team
While in the NICU, your baby will be under the care of a neonatologist, a physician who specializes in the care of critically ill and premature newborns. Decisions about your baby’s care are made by the neonatologist. He or she is available to answer questions and provide support. Registered Neonatal Nurses complete the team, bringing years of specialized training and experience to care for your newborn.
The Team Approach
For every baby in the NICU, there is a family that needs comfort and support. Many concerns can arise related to the condition of your baby, separation from your baby and the challenges of having a newborn in the hospital. Our NICU staff work together as a team to provide support to families. Additional services, including access to a chaplain and a social worker.
For support and guidance in making breastfeeding decisions, a certified lactation consultant is available to assist you. Storage areas and supplies for breast milk are available while your infant remains hospitalized. Should you wish to breastfeed, we want to ensure your breastfeeding experience is a successful and rewarding one.
Breastfeeding classes are available every 1st Thursday of the month from 6pm to 8pm. This class provides instruction on breastfeeding techniques as well as encouragement and support for a woman’s choice to provide breast milk for her baby. Topics include milk production, positioning and attachment techniques and prevention and relief of common problems. Establishing milk supply and providing breast milk for a baby who is not yet able to breastfeed is also discussed. Fathers are also encouraged to attend. 50-75% of women attending are accompanied by their husbands or special support persons. There will be discussion on how a mother prepares to return to work and pumping. Please call (850) 864-0213 to enroll today!
Checking on Your Baby
If you are unable to visit the hospital and would like to check on your baby’s condition, please call your baby’s nurse for a progress report at (850) 315-7932. It may be best to call at times other than during nursing shift changes – 6:30am and 6:30pm. Feel free to speak to your baby’s doctor, nurses or other members of the family support team. They can help you with any questions or concerns that you may have. Parents will be given a special four digit code by the nursing staff upon admission. For safety and protection, we ask that you keep this code confidential. You will need this code to get information about your baby over the phone.
The following guidelines were developed to help provide an environment that will protect your baby, respect the privacy of others and maintain infection prevention measures:
- All visitors must sign in and obtain a visitor’s badge at the Mother/Baby nurse’s station. The badge MUST be visible at all times and returned prior to departure from the unit. Children under age 12 are not permitted, unless they are a sibling of the newborn and supervised by an adult.
- The NICU is open to parents and designated visitors during the following times:
- 7:30am to 6:30pm
- 7:30pm to 6:30am
- We must close to parents and visitors to allow nurses and physicians to give report and complete assessments on the babies. Visitation may be limited at the discretion of staff. At times, we may need to close during the visiting hours due to certain circumstances. We will open to visitors as soon as possible. We ask for your support and understanding during these times.
- Only two individuals are allowed at the bedside at one time. Visitors are limited to four individuals designated by the mother at the time of admission to the unit. Designated visitors may come into the NICU only when accompanied by an individual wearing an armband. Visitors may be asked to provide proper identification. Visitors should be free of suspected infection, blisters, draining lesions, fever, vomiting, etc.
- All family members and visitors are required to complete a two minute hand scrub as directed by the nursing staff each time they enter the NICU.
- During Flu and RSV season, sibling visitation is limited to siblings 12 years of age or older only.
- We recognize the importance of siblings being involved with the family's new addition and wish to include them. However, we do not allow any children under the age of 12 inside the NICU.
Babies & Infections
Babies in the NICU are very susceptible to infections. This can delay recovery and may have long-lasting effects. To help protect against infections, we have developed the following guidelines:
- Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after holding or touching your baby. The nurses will instruct you on how to do a two-minute scrub.
- Please notify your baby’s nurse before visiting if you have any sign of illness, especially if you have been exposed to a contagious disease or have a cold sore. We ask you NOT to visit if you have an unexplained fever over 100 degrees.
- When visiting, please remain at your baby’s bedside. In order to protect everyone’s right to privacy, we ask that you not ask about other patients or look at their records.
After your baby is admitted to the NICU, the staff will work with you to plan ahead for discharge. This will help ease the transition from the hospital to your home. The NICU at FWBMC is committed to working with you to make sure that your baby receives the best possible care both in and out of the hospital.
To speak with the Director of Women and Children’s Services or to schedule a tour of Labor and Delivery, please call (850) 863-7627.
For a free physician referral or to speak with a registered nurse about your health questions, please call Consult-A-Nurse®, 24/7, at (850) 864-0213.