Well Equipped to Aid NICU Babies

Lovelace Women’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Albuquerque is a key component to saving the lives of premature babies born in Chaves County.

Lovelace Regional Hospital in Roswell does not have a neonatal intensive care unit, said Katherine Cox, communications manager for the Lovelace Health System, but patients who are in need of such services are referred to Lovelace Women’s Hospital in Albuquerque.

The Lovelace Women’s Hospital NICU has 53 beds and 24/7-in-house neonatologists to care for ill, prematurely born babies.

The Lovelace Women’s Hospital NICU also has physical and occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists to help with feeding, swallowing and movement issues and help mothers learn proper positioning.

Ophthalmology and cardiopulmonary specialists provide pre-birth testing, monitoring, and pre- and after-birth intervention. Social workers provide case-management and social services for families and their newborns.

Dietitians offer nutritional care and dietary counseling services for parents.

Mothers experiencing lactation issues can receive help from Lovelace lactation specialists.

Families not from the Albuquerque area can receive temporary lodging during their time at the Lovelace Women’s Hospital NICU through partnerships with the Ronald McDonald House and Casa Esperanza.

Further, prematurely born children can be transported to Lovelace Health System hospitals and partner hospitals, such as UNM, from around the state through the New Mexico Newborn Transport Program (NMNTP).

The NMNTP, established in 1975, is partnered with 7BAR Aviation, certified through the Federal Aviation Administration and the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems, and team members are certified annually in flight safety/evacuation and air medical resource management by appointed safety officers.

The NMNTP is available 24/7 for transport of sick infants from birth to 44 weeks of age. The transport team includes a neonatal nurse practitioner and an emergency medical technician or registered nurse specifically trained to care for sick newborns.

“No parent plans or intends on having their baby stay in a neonatal intensive care unit,” says the Lovelace Women’s Hospital NICU website. “But if that should become necessary, we want you to rest assured that Lovelace Women’s Hospital is here for you and your baby with the best available care.”

Lovelace Health System includes Lovelace Medical Center, Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital, Lovelace Women’s Hospital, Lovelace Westside Hospital, Heart Hospital of New Mexico at Lovelace Medical Center, Lovelace Regional Hospital in Roswell, and Lovelace Medical Group.