The Level III Bryan Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at GHS Children’s Hospital is located in Greenville Memorial Hospital. The NICU offers the region’s largest, most advanced level of specialty care for premature or critically ill infants. And we’re one of the state’s leading perinatal teaching centers—that means our experts teach student doctors and other healthcare providers the special skills they need to care for babies and their parents.
We’re ready 24 hours a day with the latest technology and monitoring equipment made for tiny babies (ventilators, incubators, specialized feeding devices and intravenous equipment). And we use the most up-to-date evidence-based practice models. That means we treat babies in the ways that have been proven to be best. We bring all of these pieces together to help babies have the best chance to survive and grow up normally.
Our Team of Experts
Our board-certified neonatal doctors are available on-site and around the clock. They are backed by the area’s largest number of pediatric subspecialists. These specially trained doctors are experienced in areas ranging from pediatric cardiology, general surgery and neurosurgery to pediatric gastroenterology, genetics, pulmonary medicine, neurology, endocrinology, nephrology, hematology and infectious disease.
Other staff members specially trained to care for sick babies include almost 200 dedicated NICU-trained neonatal nurse practitioners, bedside staff nurses, neonatal nutritionists, pediatric pharmacologists, pediatric therapists (occupational, physical, respiratory, speech), social workers and pediatric case managers.
Together, we care for more than 800 babies every year!
More Special Help
Other members of our NICU team are special volunteers who rock and hold infants when parents cannot be with their babies.
Our Pediatric Supportive Care Team helps families who have children with major problems who may need therapy at home or who will need to come back to the hospital later.
Our Pediatric Developmental Care Team follows many high-risk infants for up to three years after they leave the hospital. That way, the team will know If these babies have problems later and can make sure that they get the best care possible.
Making Great Care Even Better
We are constantly trying to improve the care we provide. One way is to be part of several large national databases, which helps us compare our quality of care and all of our important clinical outcomes with other centers around the country.
We also take part in many clinical trials that helps us improve care and outcomes. In addition, we learn about new medicines and therapies that may benefit our infants and their parents.
Research tells us that a sick or premature baby needs special surroundings to help them heal better. So our NICU uses soft lights and has special ways to reduce noise.
When It’s Time to Go Home
And when it’s time to bring babies home, GHS Children’s Hospital is one of the few in the nation with a program to teach parents how to care for children with special needs.
We know that parents may be scared or nervous about taking their baby home. In our Family Learning Center, parents can stay with their baby in rooms set up like home for a few days and nights. There they learn to care for their babies who may need monitors or special medicines. Then, when they are ready to leave the NICU, the parents feel more ready to care for their baby at home.
For more information about the Bryan NICU, please call (864) 455-7165.
When Your Baby Is in the NICU
If your baby is admitted to the NICU, the highly trained doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and other NICU team members will give the specialized care that your baby needs.
The NICU has provided care for sick babies in our region for more than 30 years. The 80-bed NICU at Children’s Hospital cares for more than 800 infants each year.
The NICU is divided into two areas:
Your physical presence and emotional support are two of the most important things your baby needs to get better. No parent should feel left out of what is happening to their baby. We strongly encourage you to be an active part of your baby’s stay.
Please review the following guidelines and information about your baby’s care.
Depending on your baby’s condition, you and your care partner may be able to see your baby shortly after delivery. Upon admission to the NICU, your baby’s healthcare team will assess his or her condition, connect any needed equipment and make sure that your baby is stable. If you are asked to wait away from the bedside while your baby is admitted, you are invited to wait in the family room located just outside the main NICU entrance. You will be welcomed to your child’s bedside once the admission process is complete.
Communication with your Health Care Providers
It is our utmost desire that you, as parents, are fully informed and involved in the care of your infant. You are important team members, and we welcome your input. Communication with the neonatal team is essential in order for your infant to receive the best care possible.
Methods to communicate:
We understand that this is a stressful time for you as parents of your infant and we strive to keep you fully informed on the progress of your infant. The bedside nurses are wonderful resources, but the nurse practitioners and neonatologists are more than willing to spend the time that you need to help you feel comfortable with your infant’s care. Please ask questions and do not forget that we are always available.
Phone Updates on Your Baby’s Progress
Upon admission, a password can be created to allow staff to give patient information over the phone. The main NICU number to call is (864) 455-7165. No phone calls for updates are permitted during shift changes: 6:30-7:30 a.m. and 6:30-7:30 p.m. as our nurses are busy providing information about your infant to the next nurse who will be taking care of your child
If you would like to establish a website where you can post updates so that your family and friends can get information on your baby’s condition—and where they can leave you messages of encouragement—a free service called CarePages is available. For more on CarePages, go to www.carepages.com/ghs or see the card enclosed in this packet.
Learning About Your Baby’s Medical Care
The NICU team wants you to take an active part in your baby’s care plan. The team welcomes questions about your baby’s condition, treatment and care. We want you to feel comfortable communicating with us.
A glossary of terms, information about your role as a parent and what to expect from the NICU experience will be shared with you on admission. It may be helpful to write down words you do not understand or questions that you have about your baby.
Healthcare workers may use medical terms that you do not understand. If you are confused by their explanation, ask them to explain things in a way that you can understand. It is important to us for you to understand all aspects of your baby’s care.
External Resources (Apps for Parents)
Two parents or Care Partners will receive a green bracelet upon admission. These bracelets must be worn at all times. If the bracelet is lost, removed or broken, the parent or Care Partner must present a photo ID to the NICU before receiving a new bracelet.
To help ensure privacy, parents will be asked to provide a passcode to receive information over the phone. Please do not visit or ask questions about other patients in the NICU. Following this directive prevents protects the privacy of other patients and families.
For your baby’s protection, the NICU is a locked unit. Each time you come to visit your baby, please use the black phone at the entranceway to let staff know you are here. Because of limited space at the bedside and to provide patient privacy, we request that no more than two people visit at the bedside at a time. Visitors should remain at the baby’s bedside during their visit and are not allowed to stand or meet in NICU hallways. Conversations and phone calls are limited to certain areas.
You will have the opportunity to name 4 individuals that can see your baby without you being present. We asked that you take your time with this selection because the 4 individuals you select must remain the same throughout your baby’s stay. The first time these individuals come to the NICU they will need to show their driver’s license to receive a bracelet. After this first time, they must have the bracelet on to enter the NICU. If they do not have their bracelet on, they will need to show ID each time to enter the NICU. In addition to these 4 individuals with bracelets, you can have 2 additional visitors during regular hospital visiting hours, between 9 am and 9 pm. A parent must be present at the bedside when the daily visitors come into the unit.
Siblings over the age of 3 are able to visit the baby. Due to the intensive care environment, sibling visits are limited to 20 minutes once a day and a parent must be present when the sibling visits. Please note that during flu season, children under the age of 18 may be prohibited from visiting patients, which can impact sibling visitation in the NICU.
You are welcome to bring personal items from home to help personalize your baby’s bedside. Any clothes or blankets brought from home, however, must be taken home to be laundered. Please be sure all personal items are labeled. Because we cannot guarantee their safety, please do not bring valuable or irreplaceable items to the hospital.
Because of various conditions, plants and flowers are not permitted in the NICU. Because of allergies and safety hazards, balloons also are not allowed.
We encourage you to document your baby’s journey with pictures and video recording that can be shared with family. Please note that you are permitted to take pictures of your baby only. It is a privacy infringement to take pictures of other hospital patients.
NICU team members want to be a part of your baby’s hospital memories as well. Please ask team members for permission before including them in your pictures.
Family Waiting Area
A waiting area is available for all visitors. It is located just before the double doors of the NICU 1 entrance. A kitchen area, which includes a refrigerator, microwave, coffee and water machine are available for your use. There are also lockers, a bathroom with a changing table, TV and telephone.
Please be respectful of all visitors using the waiting area. We also request that visitors help keep this area tidy. Toys and books are in the waiting area to help entertain young children who are visiting.
Is My Baby Hurting?
It is natural to wonder if your baby’s medical condition or medical treatment may be causing your baby pain. The NICU healthcare team is trained to understand and respond to infant signals, particularly those that express pain or discomfort. In some situations, comfort measures may be adequate to ease your baby’s discomfort. In other situations, pain medication may be administered.
Good hand cleaning is the best way to prevent the spread of any possible infections to your baby. All visitors, including parents or guardians, are asked to clean their hands before and after visiting the NICU to decrease the chance for infection. Sinks are located throughout the NICU and waterless hand sanitizer is located at each bedside. Parents and visitors are asked to use waterless hand sanitizer before and after leaving the bedside.
Visitors should not enter the NICU if they have felt sick or have experienced the following symptoms in the past 24 hours: vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, fever, body aches, chills, sore throat, and cough or sinus drainage.
Extra precautions will be taken during flu seasons and outbreaks of RSV and rotavirus because of the increased risk to NICU patients.
Protective gloves and coverings are often worn by the NICU healthcare team. This measure protects both your baby and healthcare team members from possible infections.