About the NICU
Special Care for Babies
Mount Sinai Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is one of the largest in Canada. It offers specialized care to high-risk and critically ill babies. It is one of only two units in Toronto providing tertiary perinatal care — care and management of the fetus and newborn infant before, during and after delivery — for the Central East region of Ontario; an area with approximately 80,000 annual births.
As your baby is admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Mount Sinai Hospital, this may be a very difficult time for you. Your baby is in our nursery because your baby needs special care and monitoring. In the coming days or weeks, when your baby's condition gets better, this extra support from our special care nurseries may no longer be needed.
NICU / Level 2 Nurseries
There are two specialized nurseries for babies at Mount Sinai - NICU and Level 2. Both are located on the 7th floor (directions). All infants who require special care and monitoring are initially admitted to the NICU. Your baby is cared for in the NICU as long as he or she require intensive treatment, such as mechanical breathing assistance, and intensive observation.
In the coming weeks and months, as your baby's condition improves and your baby no longer needs intensive medical and nursing care, your baby may be transferred to a Level 2 nursery. This is a nursery that provides specialized care for babies who are more stable. One of the main focuses of the Level 2 nursery is preparing for the baby to home. Many babies are transferred to a Level 2 nursery in a hospital closer to their home.
Some babies who are convalescing may still require ongoing care that another Level 2 nursery may not provide. These babies are transferred from the NICU to the Level 2 nursery at Mount Sinai. This nursery is located down the hall from the NICU. In the Level 2 nursery, we encourage you to spend as much time as possible in the hospital, caring for your baby, in preparation for going home.
You may wish to go on a tour of our Level 2 nursery before your baby is transferred - please ask your baby's nurse. You may also wish to contact the hospital closer to your home to find out more information about their Level 2 nursery.
What should I expect in the new nursery?
The same basic care is given. You will notice that the Level 2 nursery is much quieter. The monitor alarms do not ring as much. The atmosphere is more relaxed as the babies in the Level 2 do not need as much medical or nursing care. This means that your baby's nurse may have as many as four babies to care for.
What does this mean for me when my baby is transferred to the Level 2 nursery?
Your baby is more stable and will be getting closer to discharge and no longer needs intensive care. During this time, we encourage you to become more involved in your baby's care in preparation for going home.
- Neonatologist - a paediatrician specializing in the care of newborns; the head of the medical team
- Neonatal Fellow - qualified paediatrician receiving additional training in neonatology
- Neonatal Resident - qualified medical doctor training to be a paediatrician
- Cardiologist - for heart problems
- Neurologist - for brain and nervous system problems
- Nephrologist - for kidney (urine) problems
- Gastroenterologist - for intestinal problems and nutrition
- Endocrinologist - for glands and hormone problems
- Hematologist - for blood problems
- Ophthalmologist - for eye problems
- Clinical Nurse Specialist / Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (CNS/NNP) - nurses with post-graduate training of the critically ill and convalescing infants; they provide medical care similar to resident physicians
- Registered Nurse (R.N.) - performs and coordinates your baby's daily care
- Team Leader - experienced R.N. who leads the nursing shift
- Primary Nurse - R.N. assigned to the care of your baby for their stay in hospital
- Parent Resource Nurse - provides parental support through education and linking to community resources
- Nursing Unit Administrator (NUA) - supervises all registered nurses, team leaders, unit clerks and service assistants
- Clinical Coordinator - responsible for daily coordination of unit activities (e.g. staffing)
- Clinical Care Manager - coordinates discharge planning and transfer of patients
- Nurse Clinician - responsible for orientation and ongoing education of all nursing staff
- Lactation Consultant - available to assist with breastfeeding and pumping
- Social Worker - available for parental support and can help with family concerns
- Registered Respiratory Care Practitioner - help nurses and doctors manage ventilators and perform treatment to improve your baby's breathing
- Pharmacist - provides consultative services to the medical team in selecting and ordering medications
- Inter-Faith Chaplain - available for spiritual and religious care, and emotional support (religious affiliation not required).
- Dietitian - provides nutritional consultation to the medical team
- Occupational Therapy - available to work with your baby on any developmental issues