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Spending Time with Your Baby

Visiting Your Baby Parent's Preferred Visiting Plan

We believe that parents and other family members are very important in helping a baby get well. We also believe that it is helpful for parents to be able to have those people who are supportive to them spend time with them and/or the baby if they desire. Therefore, we ask parents to fill out a “Parent’s Preferred Visiting” form that indicates who can visit your baby and under what circumstances you want them to do so, using the guidelines below. You may change your plan at any time by filling out a new Preferred Visiting form. For reasons of safety and privacy, we ask that you and your baby’s visitors remain at your baby’s bedside while in the unit. We ask that you would fill out a Parent’s Preferred Visiting form as soon as possible after your baby is admitted to the NICU.

Parenting Time

As part of our Family Centered Care Philosophy the NICU staff is dedicated to providing you and your baby with an experience that incorporates expert clinical care and loving support of family and friends. The NICU staff encourages parents to be active participants in caring for their babies as much as possible. Parents are welcome in the NICU at all times of the day and night, 24 hours a day. To protect patient confidentiality, only parents are able to stay in the NICU during nursing report and shift changes. (7-7:30am, 3-3:30pm, 7-7:30pm, 11-11:30pm) There may be times when admissions, procedures or occasionally an emergency is occurring that may require limited access to the NICU. On these occasions, family and visitors may be asked to leave the unit. Feel free to wait in the Family Waiting Area during these times.

Video cameras are permitted at the bedside at the nurse’s discretion; please speak with the nurse regarding the video cameras around the NICU equipment. The curtain must be drawn around the bedside to provide privacy for both the parents videotaping and the other babies around the bed space. The audio must be turned off. Be considerate of the privacy of others. You are welcome and encouraged to take photographs of your baby. We recognize that cell phones are important communication and media devices for families. Please talk with your baby’s nurse about their appropriate use in the NICU.

Sibling Time

Brothers and sisters are an important part of your baby’s family and are welcome in the NICU. All children should be closely supervised while in the NICU and should not be left unattended at any time. It is important to prepare younger children for their visit to the NICU, because all children react differently. The NICU environment can be frightening for younger children, making it difficult to keep the unit calm and quiet. Bringing along a familiar toy or activity may help occupy their time. Alternatively, a friend or family member can stay with a sibling in the Family Room while parents visit.

Occasionally, a sibling of a twin or triplet is discharged ahead of their brother or sister. When the sibling at home is brought back to the NICU for a visit, he/she should be placed in a separate crib that will be kept at the bedside of their sibling. The visiting sibling should not be placed in the same crib as the hospitalized baby due to potential exposure to infectious disease in the community or household.

Extended Family and Friends

Visitors other than siblings must be 12 years of age or older and free of infection. We need to limit visitors to 2 people at a baby’s bedside for the safety of all of the babies. Exceptions are made under certain circumstances. Extended family and friends of the baby will be asked to leave during shift change report.

Bringing Children Into The NICU

Children, who are over the age of 12 and not siblings of the baby, may visit the baby(s) as long as the parent or guardian of the hospitalized infant accompanies them.

Anyone with an illness that is easily spread to others should not visit the NICU until the illness can no longer be spread.

All children who visit the NICU must stop at the Clerk’s desk. The Clerk will ask you to complete the health screening questions below for each child visitor. We ask that you answer honestly and not bring sick children into the NICU. You will need to complete this form daily for each child who comes to visit.

  • Does your child have fever (>100 degrees F) now or in the last 48 hours?
  • Does your child have flu-like symptoms within the last 7 days? (cough, cold, sore throat, runny nose or eyes, vomiting or diarrhea)
  • Has your child been around someone with any of the symptoms above?
  • Does your child have cold sores?

If the answer is "YES" to any of the above, the sibling(s), parent, or visitor(s) will not be allowed to visit in the NICU. In addition, to assist us in maintaining an infection free environment please do not bring in food or live plants to the bedside.

Health Screening

Babies in the NICU are at risk for exposure to infections and need to be protected from them. For this reason, we ask that you pay close attention to your own health as parents, the health of your other children, and the health of any other visitors allowed into the NICU. Infectious diseases brought in from the community to the NICU/SCN can be devastating to the fragile infants we care for.

Hand Washing

The best way to protect your baby from infection is to wash your hands. Everyone who comes in contact with your baby needs to wash their hands. It is also important to use waterless hand sanitizer after you touch any personal items, such as a purse or wallet. Read more about hand washing in the NICU.

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St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor | 5301 McAuley Drive, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 | 734-712-3456