What Is the NICU?
Across the country, nurseries for newborns are classified based on the kind of care they can provide. Level II NICUs/special care nurseries are for infants who need slightly more complex care — the babies here may need to see a doctor who specializes in treating newborns, for example. Some premature babies can be cared for in the special care nursery.
When a baby is born prematurely or otherwise needs intensive support, they may go to a Level III or Level IV NICU. This is a nursery with the equipment, staff and training to treat infants who need advanced care.
At MultiCare, we have four NICUs — two Level II NICUs at Auburn Medical Center and Good Samaritan Hospital, a Level III NICU at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital and the region’s only Level IV NICU at Tacoma General Hospital.
Critically ill newborns from across Southwest Washington rely on the advanced services of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. To give them faster access to our high level care, the Center has established a unique transport service.
These transport teams consist of specially trained registered nurses and respiratory therapists. Traveling in a specially equipped ambulance, these professionals and their equipment serve as a mobile neonatal intensive care unit to transport the baby to the hospital. If requested, the transport team will respond to a referral facility and assist in the delivery room resuscitation, stabilization and transport of the newborn.
MultiCare’s Neonatal Transport Team is the first ground-only transport in the nation to win accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems.
Tacoma General Hospital is the only hospital in the South Puget Sound that can provide the highest level of care possible for critically ill infants.
The Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) serves premature and critically ill newborns and is the Neonatal Referral Center for all of Southwest Washington. Additionally, Tacoma General is nationally accredited in neonatal transport services and provides care and transportation for more than 750 premature infants annually.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is made up of two units, including the Intermediate Care Nursery. The two units provide different levels of care based on a baby's needs.