Nationally Ranked Best Children’s Hospitals for Pediatric Neonatology


US News World Report | US News World Report Neonatology 2017-18OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois Neonatology is ranked in the top 50 among neonatology programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a 64-bed, private-room unit with a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit - the highest state designation - and a Level II Intermediate Care Unit. Located on the third floor of OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria, our NICU has been caring for newborns since 1942. 

Our full-time neonatologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists and consultants from multiple specialties deliver the most advanced care to premature and high-risk infants.

Approximately two-thirds of our patients are from the 24-county area surrounding Peoria. Specially trained NICU nurses and respiratory therapists transport our babies by ground ambulance or OSF Life Flight.

 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
  • Conventional and high-frequency ventilation
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation  
  • Family-centered care, including a parent support group, a parent advocate, breastfeeding support and family lounge
  • Hospice and Palliative Care Services
  • Isolation facilities
  • Memorial services for families who have lost loved ones
  • Peritoneal dialysis
  • Registered dietitian/nutritionist with special education in neonatal nutrition
  • Respiratory therapists on unit at all times
  • Small Baby Unit
  • Social services for families
  • Surgery in multiple specialties, including cardiac
  • Transport of infants to, from or within Children's Hospital of Illinois

Small Baby Unit

The Small Baby Unit (SBU) is located within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois. The SBU provides a family-centered, specialized, therapeutic environment specifically for babies born before 30 weeks gestation, delivering a combination of medical care and developmental support to improve neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Each room is darkened with noise levels kept to a minimum to create an environment similar to that of a mother’s womb. This helps promote natural brain development. The unit performs cue-based care, which means care is provided based on each baby’s individual signals and needs instead of the focus being set by a routine, predetermined schedule. Medical needs are always a top priority, but the SBU also allows the baby to have uninterrupted rest, promoting optimal brain development.

The SBU uses a team approach to care for each infant. The team includes physical therapists, speech therapists, respiratory therapists, dieticians, doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses, who are all trained to provide specialized care for premature infants. The team meets each morning with the parents to discuss the baby’s health, creates a plan for the next 24 hours and determines long-term goals for the infant.

With each patient interaction, there are two medical staff involved. One person completes the needed care while the other person provides appropriate neurodevelopmental containment and comfort for the baby.  

The SBU encourages parents to become integral members of the caregiving team by being at their baby’s bedside as often as possible, participating in daily rounds, seeking their input on several aspects of their baby’s care, and helping facilitate skin-to-skin (kangaroo) care.  

Empowering families to participate in their babies’ care increases the bonding between the babies and caregivers. It also gives parents the confidence and understanding to care for their babies on their own, which reduces readmission rates substantially and makes a positive difference in developmental outcomes.

Vermont Oxford Network

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit participates in the Vermont Oxford Database Network. The goal of this organization is to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and safety of medical care for infants through a coordinated program of outcomes research, clinical trials and quality improvement projects. Through participation in multiple Vermont Oxford Collaborative Quality Improvement Projects over the last 20 years, the NICU has been able to achieve outstanding outcomes in all areas of neonatal care.

For more information, please visit www.vtoxford.org.

Patient Stories

Meet Our Patients | Joseph Penn

Joseph Penn

Joseph made his debut, weighing 1 pound, 4 ounces. He was 10 3/4 inches long. The NICU team from OSF Children's Hospital was in the operating room, waiting to care for Joseph upon delivery.

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Meet Our Patients | Sawyer Kaufman 2

Sawyer Kaufman

Born 16 weeks early, weighing only 1 pound, 5 ounces, Sawyer Kaufman battled a number of life-threatening health problems. But the Neonatology team at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois was with him every step of the way, delivering advanced, multidisciplinary care to save little Sawyer’s life.


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