Live Vibrantly Live Vibrantly

inpatient and outpatient
rehabilitation | skilled nursing
2725 E. 17th St. • Idaho Falls, ID 83406
208.529.4567 •
Joint Commission accredited
By Casey Archibald
or parents of infants in the NICU, making the transition from
hospital to home can be a frightening experience. Many times
newborns have been swarmed by neonatologists, registered
nurses, therapists, pharmacists, lactation specialists and other care-
givers for weeks or even months before the infant is ready to go home.
Assuming all that responsibility and mastering special equipment for
especially fragile babies can cause a lot of anxiety for parents.
In recent years, the NICU at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical
Center was rebuilt and included the addition of two transition
rooms for families. It is in those rooms where parents can spend
the night and adjust to taking care for their critical infant before
taking their child home.
Transition rooms prepare
families to leave the NICU
Lorri Anderson, Director of Women’s Services for Labor and
Delivery at EIRMC , and Tina Robins, Manager of the NICU at
EIRMC, talk about transitions newborns from the hospital to
home. (Casey Archibald/
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“A lot of the babies go home on home oxygen and home mon-
itors,” said Tina Robins, Manager of the NICU at EIRMC. “So not
only do [parents] have to get used to taking care of the critical in-
fant, they also have to get used to the medical equipment too. [Teir
time in the transition room] gives them the opportunity to use the
actual equipment they will be using before they go home. Tat way,
if something happens or if they have a question there is somebody
right outside the door to help them.”
Te rooms came in the nick of time, because with the recent ad-
dition of a perinatologist to the hospital, EIRMC has seen about 39
percent more critical care babies than they did previously.
“We are seeing so many more infants in our NICU because now
our population does not have to travel to Salt Lake to get the type
of expertise they need before the baby is born. We are thrilled about
that,” said Lorri Anderson, Director of Women’s Services for Labor
and Delivery at EIRMC.
Te transition rooms are comparable to mini apartments and
have several amenities like a bed, television, recliner, bathroom, a
bassinet, a table, chairs, a couch and emergency equipment in case
something goes wrong.
Anderson said most of the time families only need to stay in the
transition rooms for one or two nights before they feel ready to take
their baby home. Te use of the rooms is free of charge and is usually
ordered by a physician.
Robins said at times it can be difcult to schedule the rooms in
advance because sometimes infants will improve dramatically in a
short period of time.
“We do try to give [parents] at least four days’ heads up; many
times we can tell when they are close to being ready to go home,”
said Robins. “We tell them to start bringing the car seat to the hos-
pital with them and to start making arrangement to take some time
of of work to spend in the transition rooms.”
Te nurses and other caregivers in the NICU ask that parents us-
ing the transition rooms clear their schedule for a day or two so they
can spend that time in their room and fully concentrate on learning
how to properly care for their child. Tis may include getting time
of of work, canceling appointments and hiring a babysitter if the
family already has children at home. No one under 18 is allowed
into the NICU in an efort to reduce the risk of infection.
“We don’t keep [the babies] longer than necessary,” said Ander-
son. “Our NICU has the reputation of being able to send these ba-
bies home as soon as possible. We know the baby will do better in
the home environment.”
Both Anderson and Robins agree that being in their occupations
lead to close-knit relationships with the families they work with.
“It is so gratifying to see these babies go home. We truly go on
this journey with them. When you can see them get ready to go
home afer all that work it’s so exciting. Te parents are so excited
to start their life with their new baby. Tere are a lot of emotions
involved for nurses and families when those babies get to go home.”
Anderson said it is fulflling and rewarding to watch babies grow
from as little as three pounds to six or more pounds by the time they
leave the hospital. She said the transition rooms have helped her as
well as other registered nurses to pass along their care to a family.
“We not only take intensive care of the baby, but we grow fam-
ilies,” said Anderson. “Tat’s our business, and that’s what we love.
It’s not nurses caring for infants; it’s a team approach between nurses
and family members.” n
Medical Guide • 59