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Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)

Should your baby require extra attention and special care, Emory Decatur Hospital offers a neonatal intensive care nursery in Atlanta and Georgia, with a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This unit, which carries the highest level of clinical designation, is for babies who are born prematurely or those who need heart monitoring, special medications or assistance breathing. Emory Decatur Hospital’s Atlanta neonatal intensive care unit is the closest NICU to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which is known for its pediatric heart surgery program.

Our Atlanta neonatal intensive care unit features 52 centrally monitored infant beds in the NICU and Growing Preemie Nursery. They are supported by specially trained nurses and respiratory therapists, who can also attend to newborns in need of assistance starting in the delivery room.

Parent Participation in our NICU in Atlanta

Because babies can be in neonatal intensive care anywhere from one day to several months, parents take an active role in their baby’s care while they are in the NICU with family-centered time and encouragement to participate in bedside care when possible.

As part of our neonatal intensive care program, we help prepare parents for life at home with one-on-one instruction for parents and family members before they take their baby home. Parents can “room in” with infants who require complex care so they can establish a routine with the support of the neonatal staff prior to leaving the hospital.

Our Atlanta neonatal intensive care unit is staffed with a variety of medical professionals to provide the best care possible for your newborn baby. NICU support services include neonatal respiratory therapy, physical and occupational therapies and audiology services. Follow-up services with developmental, hearing and vision specialists and others are available, if needed.

Nenonatal Glossary

Gestation – the period of time between conception and birth during which the fetus grows and develops inside the mother's womb. Gestational age is measured in weeks from the first day of the woman's last menstrual cycle to the current date. A pregnancy of normal gestation is approximately 40 weeks, with a normal range of 38 to 42 weeks.

Neonatologist – a pediatrician with special training in caring for babies that are sick and require intensive care after birth. They coordinate care for the majority of babies in the NICU and consult with other specialists to help with your baby's care.

Premature Infant – A premature infant is a baby born before 37 weeks gestation. At birth, a baby is classified as one of the following:

  • Premature (less than 37 weeks gestation)
  • Full term (37 to 42 weeks gestation)
  • Post term (born after 42 weeks gestation)

Respiratory Therapist – a healthcare professional trained to deliver multiple treatments to the heart and lungs and actively involved in the care of babies with breathing problems.

Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) – An individual with post-graduate education in nursing. Typically, this person has obtained at least a master’s degree in nursing.

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)  – An advanced practice nurse who diagnoses and treats infants with a variety of health problems, including prematurity, cardiac malformations, birth defects, infections, chronic illnesses, surgical complications and other health issues.

There is also a developmental team onsite to handle any evaluations that may need to occur. This team may include a physical therapist (PT), speech therapist, audiologist, etc.


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