NICU | Family Birth Center | Salem Health
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Neonatal intensive care unit

Advanced care for babies

Knowing your baby will be well cared for in case of an unplanned complication or premature birth gives new parents peace of mind. With our NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) close by on the third floor, you can be assured your baby will get highly specialized medical and nursing care should it be necessary.

The Salem Health NICU (the only one in Marion or Polk county) is available for babies born as early as 26 weeks gestation or who need more advanced care. It’s staffed by neonatologists, pediatricians, respiratory therapists, neonatal nurses and nurse practitioners.

Our NICU is a family-focused environment and each room is equipped with daybeds and recliners to allow you to remain close to your newborn throughout the hospital stay.

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.

Affiliation with OHSU Doernbecher

The Salem Health NICU is affiliated with OHSU Doernbecher Neonatal Care Center (DNCC). Our highly skilled teams of experts consist of neonatologists, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, and dietitians. Our team serves 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. We believe the family plays an important role in your infant’s care and transition. Families get to know their baby even at the very early stages of care. We encourage presence of parents and siblings as much as possible so that you feel fully prepared to take your infant home.  

Kangaroo care

We encourage skin-to-skin or Kangaroo care as often and as early as possible.  Research has shown that Kangaroo care has benefits for both mom and 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.
  • Decreased oxygen requirements.
  • Premature babies come out of incubators and into cribs sooner.
  • Babies feed earlier and more successfully.
  • Kangaroo care promotes breastfeeding.
  • Earlier discharge from the hospital.

Benefits for mom:

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

We offer meal services to families that stay and take care of their infant 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.

Also, NICU parents can connect with others who have undergone similar circumstances on Facebook: NICU Parents Salem, OR.