Better Health 2015 > Better health issue.31 : Women's Health > NICU-Expertise for all infants

NICU-Expertise for All Infants

NICU takes new steps in neonatal care expertise for all infants

Bumrungrad’s NICU expands its services to cover neonatal care for all newborns, in addition to its renowned care for young babies born with disorders.

The happiness of giving birth can quickly turn into anxiety when medical problems arise. Just imagine when parents’ long-awaited first touch of their child is replaced by seeing their newborn in an incubator, attached to life support devices.

Considering the number of risks that accompany an infant’s delivery, parents may want to place this new life in the hands of skilled and compassionate experts.

Neonatologists note statistics showing that abnormalities during pregnancy and attendant complications at delivery are increasing. Whether this is because mothers are giving birth at an older age or having multiple pregnancies as the result of assisted reproductive technologies, premature births and other neonatal problems are on the rise.

Fragile newborn lives need the care of specialists with knowledge and expertise, supported by the latest neonatal medical technology and equipment. These fundamental elements guide the care that patients and families receive at Bumrungrad’s NICU.

Better Health is honored to have Dr. Oradee Chandavasu, expert in Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine, share her knowledge and insight with our readers. She provides an overview of Bumrungrad’s NICU and highlights the comprehensive, all-inclusive care it provides to infants and their mothers.

What is NICU?

NICU or Neonatal Intensive-Care Unit specializes in the care of sick newborn infants, which is a part of Bumrungrad’s Neonatal-Perinatal Center. At NICU, doctors and nurses – all with expertise in neonatal care – provide services in diagnosing and treating mothers and infants, from pre-delivery to post-delivery.

NICU’s goal is to care for newborn infants and protect them if unforeseen events arise – from their arrival in the delivery room until the healthy newborn is ready to go home.

What disorders and conditions does NICU treat?

NICU focuses on treating disorders in both mother and infant
that cause serious symptoms and pose present and future health risks.

Mothers’ conditions that lead to high-risk pregnancy with deleterious effects on unborn infants include diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, preeclampsia, and histories of prematurity and low birth weight.

Newborn infant disorders and circumstances include premature birth, low birth weight, multiple births, and various disorders of the respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.

The unit also treats problem delivery, such as prolonged or obstructed labor, infection, mother’s fever, discoloration of amniotic fluid (stained with meconium), and infants in abnormal positions (such as breech position, transverse lie, etc.).

“At Bumrungrad, approximately 20 percent of all infants delivered here and transferred from other hospitals have disorders,” says Dr. Oradee.

Care for all newborn infants

NICU’s care and treatment programs for mothers and infants are a collaborative effort between neonatologists and maternal-fetal medicine specialists. “The obstetrics team is the main caregiver for mothers with high-risk pregnancies until the gestational age of over 20 weeks. During that time, the NICU team serves as a backup to the obstetricians. At and after delivery, the NICU team is the main caregiver for newborn infants, with the background support of obstetricians who have taken care of the mother for 8 to 9 months prior to delivery and know the patient better. Such collaboration provides stability to the parents in addition to providing correct and consistent treatment and guidance.”

NICU continues providing care for infants with disordersuntil their conditions normalize. Over the past year, Bumrungrad’s NICU dedicated medical team has proudly provided high-quality neonatal services using the latest technology. “Whether it’s critical medical treatment or normal nursing care, all infants are in the hands of experienced neonatologists. Parents can rest assured that top specialists are taking care of their little ones,” says Dr. Oradee.

Bumrungrad’s NICU rated level IV, the highest category

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) rates neonatal care, dividing it into four levels. The criteria are based on doctors and support personnel, expertise and availability, technologies in use, ability to treat complications of high-risk pregnancy, annual treatment statistics and appropriate allocation of resources.

AAP rates Bumrungrad’s Neonatal service at level IV, the highest level in neonatal care, which encompasses all the levels of neonatal care.

Level I (well newborn nursery) covers services providing basic care for healthy infants. Level II (special care nursery) provides care for premature infants with a gestational age of more than 32 weeks and a birth weight of more than 1,500 grams. Level III (NICU) cares for premature infants at the age of 32 weeks or less with birth weights of lower than 1,500 grams, and provides care for infants with serious complications. Resources include a variety of specialists such as pediatric ophthalmology and pediatric surgery. Level IV (Regional NICU) comprises level III with additional neonatal transfer and subspecialties including cardiac surgery, cranial surgery, etc.”


NICU dream team: doctors, nurses, and parents working together

NICU’s philosophy is that each case requires a unified and coordinated effort. NICU doctors and nurses, specialists from various medical fields, and parents are all considered team members who work to get the best results for infants and mothers.

“All NICU neonatal personnel have the most up-to-date nursery care training and are ready to provide excellent service 24 hours a day,” says Dr. Oradee. “Along with this professional element, we encourage parents to assist in the care process as much as possible. When infants recover and their mothers and fathers are prepared to take over providing care, NICU releases them. However, parents’ early involvement with NICU helps for a smoother transition.” But the care does not end there. NICU doctors keep close tabs on their patients with a set follow-up program. “When we see the children we treat growing strong and healthy, that encourages us to go the extra distance for all of our patients,” concludes Dr. Oradee.

Neonatologist team at NICU, Bumrungrad International Hospital;
Dr. Oradee Chandavasu (left); Dr. Puvarich Wongsukkasem (middle);
Dr. Pasinee Vutrapongwatana (right)

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