Neonatal intensive care unit

Advanced care for babies

Have peace of mind knowing your baby is taken care of in case of an unplanned complication or premature birth. As the only neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Marion and Polk County, Salem Health is committed to giving your baby highly specialized medical and nursing care, should it be necessary. Salem Health’s NICU is available for babies born as early as 26 weeks gestation or who need care that is more advanced.

NICU baby in facility

Our highly skilled teams of experts consist of neonatologists, pediatricians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists and dietitians. Our teams serve one purpose: to give your baby the highest quality of care.  

Our NICU is a family-integrated care environment, which encourages parents to care for their infant alongside the clinical staff. Each room is equipped with daybeds and recliners to allow you to remain close to your newborn throughout the hospital stay. It is highly encouraged that your family gets to know your baby even at the early stages of care. Parents and siblings are welcomed to visit as much as possible. We believe family plays an important role in your infant’s care and transition to home.  



Kangaroo care

We encourage kangaroo care, also referred to as skin-to-skin, as often and early as possible. Research has shown that kangaroo care has benefits for parents and the baby.

Benefits for baby:

  • Premature babies gain weight faster.
  • Babies cry less and sleep better throughout the day.
  • Heart rates, breathing patterns, and body temperature becomes more stable.
  • Decreases oxygen requirements.
  • Premature babies come out of incubators and into cribs sooner.
  • Babies feed earlier and more successfully.
  • Promotes breastfeeding.
  • Earlier discharge from the hospital.

Benefits for parents:

  • Improves infant/parent bonding.
  • Increased breast milk supply for breast feeding parents.
  • Parents become more confident in caring for their baby.
  • Parents feel more involved in their infant's care.

Family support

When families are getting ready to take their baby home from the NICU, the health care provider and nursing staff may suggest the family stay overnight in one of the two family rooms so they can take full responsibility for the baby’s care while still knowing that a nurse is just on the other side of the door. To make your stay as comfortable as possible, we offer meal services to families that stay in the family integrated care model. 

As you and your baby progress towards discharge, we have family rooms that allow you to take care of your baby while still having the support of our NICU staff. Rooms are set up with beds, a full-size bathroom, TV/DVD, and access to a refrigerator, microwave, and pantry.





Group support

Being a parent with a newborn in the NICU can be a journey for some families. Parents are encouraged to connect with others who have undergone similar circumstances in order to build a strong support system outside of the hospital. An amazing group we recommend parents check out is on Facebook: NICU Parents Salem OR.