INTEGRIS Health Children's Hospital

Frequently Asked Questions

INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center staff has a strong commitment to family centered care and has visiting guidelines that support family involvement. These guidelines recognize and respect the role of families in relation to their infant.

Your baby’s medical needs and the emotional needs of your family are very important to us. There are times, however, when your baby’s medical needs must take priority. We have detailed the information below to help blend these two extremely important priorities.

As parents, you play an important part in the care of your baby. This information will provide you with support while ensuring safety and security for the infants in our care.

When can we visit our baby?

The NICU is open 24 hours daily except during nursing change of shifts which occur at 6:45 - 7:30 a.m. and 6:45 - 7:30 p.m.

It is best to be with your baby during the "touch times" designated for baby care such as diaper changes and feedings. This allows your baby a still and quiet environment in which to rest, grow and heal between "touch times."

What can we do with our baby?

Your baby will heal and grow best in a quiet environment, so please keep the noise and light around your baby to a minimum. Please talk in hushed voices in your baby’s room and do not tap on the isolette. Your baby may have a cover over the crib or isolette to protect him/her from the noise and light. Please do not remove this cover without checking with the nurse.

At first, while your infant is critical, the amount of care you are able to provide may be minimal, but we will try to involve you as much as possible.

Then, as your baby’s condition improves, you will be able to provide more care (including holding, diaper changing, feeding, bathing, etc.)

When feedings have started, visits will be encouraged at "feeding" times. We recommend that you arrive 15 minutes before your baby is due to eat so the nurse may update you on your baby’s progress prior to the feeding, as well as prepare any breast milk you may bring with you. Although we strive to accommodate your schedule, we will not be able to postpone your baby’s "touch time" in the event that you are unable to be here at that time.

There may be times when your baby’s nurse may ask you and/or your family to leave the unit. Many times this occurs during a neighboring baby’s admission, emergency situation, or when another baby in the same room is scheduled to have a procedure. The nursing staff may also have to ask you to end your visit if your infant begins showing signs of not tolerating the visit.

Who can visit the baby?

Mom, Dad and Siblings ages five and older may come with parents. An infectious disease questionnaire must be completed by the parents prior to the sibling visit. Siblings age four and younger are unable to come in the NICU. 
Family and/or friends designated by you, as your support persons, may be placed on your visitor list. Visitors not accompanied by infant’s parent must present a photo ID.

Only three family members or visitors will be allowed at the baby’s beside at one time. It is recommended that at least one of these visitors be the baby’s parent. The only exception to three visitors/family members will be for parent/sibling visits. This will allow both parents and the infant’s siblings to visit at the same time. All other visitors will be asked to wait in the waiting room.

Who can get information about the baby’s condition?

Only the parents can receive information about the baby’s condition. Please tell all other concerned friends and family to contact you directly, for this information. This is in accordance with the federal HIPAA regulations on privacy.

Parents may call the NICU at 405-949-3393 any time. All parents receive a special four digit "code" number upon admission. This code must be supplied to the nurse in order to receive telephone information about the baby. Parents should keep this "code" confidential and not share it with any other family members. If you release this number, we cannot be held responsible for incorrect information sharing.

When will my baby be ready to go home?

There is not a specific weight requirement for discharge from NICU. Your baby must meet the following criteria:

  • Be able to maintain his/her body temperature in an open crib.
  • Be actively gaining weight on breast/bottle feedings.
  • Not have any apneas (pauses in breathing) causing bradycardia (slowing of the heart rate) for several days to be sure that the "apnea of prematurity" has resolved.
  • While most babies do not require oxygen when they are discharged, some will need to be sent home on oxygen.

Will my baby need medications at home?

Preemies are commonly treated with medications for apnea, reflux, etc. These are problems generally caused by prematurity and gradually resolve. They may resolve before your baby goes home, but if they do not, your baby may go home on medications. If your infant does go home on medication however, before discharge, your baby's nurse will give you instructions on what the medications are for and how to give them to your baby. You should plan to practice giving the medications to your baby whenever you visit. Prior to discharge home, you will be given prescriptions to fill for your baby.

Will my baby start immunizations before going home?

Depending on the age of your baby, some immunizations may be given in the hospital before discharge. All of your baby's immunizations will be recorded in on immunization record that will be given to you upon your baby's discharge.

Will my baby need special equipment at home?

Sometimes caring for your preemie at home will take some special skills and practice. If your baby is going home on a monitor or on oxygen, you will receive special training in the hospital on how to work with this equipment. You will also be required to view an infant CPR video before discharge. You are welcome to bring grandparents or anyone else who might be caring for your baby to these instructional.

What kind of follow-up care will my baby need?

There are several routine screening tests performed on your baby in the NICU that may need to be repeated or require follow-up. If your preemie has ROP (retinopathy of prematurity), we'll check with the ophthalmologist before sending him/her home to arrange for follow up on an outpatient basis. Also, your baby will need to seen by your chosen pediatrician within one to two weeks following their discharge home.

What things at my home may need to be changed to protect my baby's health?

  • Maintain a non-smoking environment. This is especially important for baby sent home with oxygen.
  • Wash your hands after handling food or taking care of other children in the house. This is your best defense against germs.
  • You can ask your family and friends to not visit if they have colds or other contagious illnesses. Preemies are very susceptible to germs.
  • You can ask for early morning appointments at your pediatrician's office in order to avoid crowded waiting rooms full of sick children.
  • Try to avoid crowded indoor places like malls or movie theaters. The baby has a higher risk of catching cold or infection in places like these.
  • Feel free to take your baby outside, weather permitting, of course. Don't expose the baby too long to drafts or direct sunlight. You may want to try using a hat or a stroller with a parasol to protect the baby from the direct sunlight. Do not use sunscreen on your baby unless advised to do so by your pediatrician. Many sunscreens contain chemicals that can interact negatively with your baby's delicate skin.

What Do You Do About Infection Control?

In order to maintain a healing environment, it is important for all family members to observe stringent scrubbing/hand washing in accordance with our infection control policy.

"Upon entrance to the NICU, each person will scrub for TWO (2) minutes as instructed. Each person will also wash hands during handling of the infant and in the infant environment."

Absolutely NO food will be allowed at the baby’s bedside; this is a State Health Department regulation. Nursing mothers may have drinks in a container with a lid.

Cell phones can be contaminated with many germs. If you handle your cell phone, please clean your hands again before touching your baby. It is best if you silence your phone and leave it in your purse or pocket while visiting your baby.

What about Privacy?

In order to protect and respect the privacy of others, we ask that you and your visitors stay at your baby’s bedside when visiting. You will meet and befriend other parents in the unit, but discussions with these individuals will need to take place in the waiting area outside of the NICU.

There may be times after your baby’s condition has improved that he/she may share a room with another baby. If your baby is sharing a room, you are asked to spend time with only your baby. We ask that you and your visitors do not disturb or handle the other infant.

Can We Take Photographs?

Photographs of baby may be taken by any of the designated visitors/family you have placed on your visitor list. However, VIDEO is strictly prohibited due to the open nature of our NICU and the possibility of accidentally capturing information about another patient, in the background.