The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Children's Hospital of Illinois is a 60 bed all private room tertiary care facility equipped with state-of-the-art technology designed for treatment of critically-ill newborns. The unit relocated to the new Milestone unit in August of 2010. The NICU has been in existence since 1942 when it was established as the "Premature Station", one of the first such specialized units in the country. On a yearly basis, the unit admits over 650 newborns and has nearly 14,000 patient days.

Approximately one third on the NICU admissions are transferred from hospitals within the region by the Neonatal Transport Team. The unit is staffed by 6 board certified neonatologists, 12 neonatal nurse practitioners, nurses and respiratory therapists with special training in the care of newborns. Tertiary care services include high-frequency ventilation, inhaled nitric oxide, and Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation. Pediatric general and cardiovascular surgeons are available 24 hours a day.

Children's Hospital of Illinois is the only downstate hospital that offers both Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation. Babies who are convalescing are transferred back to the referring hospital to be closer to their primary care physicians and family members who will be responsible for their care after discharge.

The NICU offers the following services:

  • Bedside invasive and non-invasive monitoring
  • Blood gas analyzer and X-ray developer on unit
  • Care of all premature and high-risk infants
  • Continuing education for students, nurses and physicians from region
  • Conventional and high frequency ventilation
  • ECMO (two patients maximum at any one time)
  • Family-centered care including a parent support group, a parent pathfinder, and facilitates for hospice, breastfeeding and family lounge
  • Isolation facilities
  • Memorial services for grieving families and staff
  • Peritoneal dialysis
  • Registered dietitian/nutritionist with special education in neonatal nutrition
  • Respiratory therapy on unit at all times
  • Social services for families
  • Surgery, pre- and post-operative care
  • Transport of infants to, from or within Children's Hospital of Illinois
  • 24-hour coverage by in-house neonatal nurse practitioner

To learn more about our private inpatient rooms, click here.

Vermont Oxford Network

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is a part of the Vermont Oxford Database Network.  The goal is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of medical care for newborn infants through a coordinated program of outcomes research, clinical trials and quality improvement projects. Participation in the Vermont-Oxford Collaborative CQI Projects has enabled the NICU to demonstrate significant clinical outcome improvements. For more information, please go to www.vtoxford.org.