Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)


Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Provides Highly Specialized Newborn Care

Our tiniest and most fragile patients are cared for in Traverse City by highly skilled board-certified neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners, a specialized nursing staff, and a clinical nurse specialist fellow who assists with care planning as necessary.  

Munson Medical Center has the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit north of Grand Rapids, Mich., and is one of 17 NICUs in the state. Its rating as a Level 3 Regional Center means it is capable of caring for infants with significant respiratory and critical care needs. The 22-bed NICU is equipped with the latest technology to monitor and protect newborns with complex medical conditions and high-risk situations.

Specialized NICU Transport Team

Infants born at community hospitals who need specialized, intensive care are transported to Munson Medical Center by air or ground ambulance in the care of Munson Healthcare’s highly skilled neonatal transport team. The infant is accompanied on the trip by a neonatal nurse practitioner, a registered neonatal nurse, and a respiratory therapist. The transport team safely transports more than 100 infants each year to the NICU at Munson Medical Center.  

Daily Family-Centered Care

A multidisciplinary team of medical professionals is involved in each baby’s care. The team meets daily with the baby’s parents to talk about the child’s progress and care plan for the day. Parents are involved in discussions and decision-making.

Security: Keeping Infant Information Safe

Security codes are given to parents. This code allows the staff to share medical information about an infant’s status with parents. This is especially important for mothers who remain in the hospital to recover from the delivery of their infant, or for parents who are unable to travel to Munson Medical Center to be with their infant. Only parents may request information.

Specialized Care for Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) happens when a baby is exposed to drugs in the womb. A chemically-dependent baby can go through drug withdrawal after birth. NAS has been on the rise and is caused when a woman takes prescription or recreational drugs during pregnancy.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Munson Medical Center and the Family Birth Center at Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital specialize in care for babies with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

Detailed protocols and evidence-based best practices are in place to care for the special needs of infants experiencing drug withdrawal. Family-centered care includes education and support for parents, as well as extensive discharge planning with support from social workers, counselors, follow-up treatment for the mother, and follow-up care for the baby through the Developmental Assessment Clinic.

Lodging: Munson Manor Provides a Place for Parents

Parents who want to stay overnight may use the comfortable accommodations next to the hospital at Munson Manor Hospitality House. Munson Manor offers affordable and convenient rooms, four kitchens for meal preparations, free laundry facilities, and helpful volunteers. Special room payment arrangements are available for those in financial need. For reservations, rates, and lodging information, call 231-935-2300 or 5-2300 from a Munson Medical Center courtesy phone.

NICU Visiting Guidelines

We encourage parents, siblings, and family members to visit the NICU. Out of courtesy for all families in the NICU and to maintain a calm environment for these fragile infants, we ask all visitors to follow these guidelines:

  • A parent must accompany all visitors.
  • Only two people may visit at the bedside at one time.
  • Siblings are encouraged to visit. Since young children have short attention spans, plan for a short visit.
  • In order to maintain patient confidentiality during shift report, please do not visit the NICU from 7 - 8 am and 7 - 8 pm. There may be times when you will be asked to leave the unit, such as during an admission or when a special procedure is occurring.
  • People with colds, flu, sore throats, or any contagious disease should not visit your infant. Each day, all visitors are required to read and sign a document confirming they are free of the symptoms listed and that they are in good health.
  • Visitors are asked to help maintain a calm environment and avoid all unnecessary noise at the bedside. Please place all electronics on silent mode and avoid phone conversations at the bedside.
  • To protect patient privacy, video cameras are not allowed in the NICU.
  • Please note: Do not wear any scents, including scented soaps, perfume, cologne, or after-shave when visiting the NICU.

Waiting Area

A designated lounge area for visitors is located just inside the Maternity entrance off the Main Lobby.  All family/friends who want to visit the NICU may be asked to wait there if the parents are not available.

Cell Phones

Please limit cell phone use while visiting your baby. Disinfectant wipes for your cell phone are available at the front desk.

Developmental Clinics

The Developmental Assessment Clinic is sponsored by Munson Medical Center Specialty Clinics with support from Traverse Bay Area School District. The clinic provides follow-up screenings for infants who have been patients in the NICU, or others who have had serious medical problems at birth.

The clinic provides a multidisciplinary team consisting of nurses, social workers, neonatologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, and developmental specialists.

The purpose of the clinic is to:

  • Assess special needs and make specific referrals
  • Assess your child’s development
  • Provide you with information about your child’s progress
  • Provide or assist you with community classes, specialized school programs, and financial information

If your child meets certain criteria when being discharged from the NICU, an appointment will automatically be scheduled six months after your child’s date of birth. You will receive a letter about four weeks prior to that appointment.