UCHealth Neonatal Intensive Care Unit - Poudre Valley Hospital

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Caring for your premature or critically-ill baby closer to home

oham-330-nicuWe understand the stresses that come with the birth of a baby who needs special care. We recognize that you and your family are your baby’s main source of strength and support.

Our philosophy of family-centered care nurtures those strong bonds between infants and their families that begin before birth. Our goal is to partner with you to achieve the best possible outcomes for your baby.

The neonatal ICU

Our NICU team includes highly specialized physicians and nurses who are trained to take care of these tiny newborns – and their parents, too!

We offer many services to the parents of babies in the NICU. We have certified lactation specialists to help you with breastfeeding and many other specialists that can answer any questions about your baby’s care. If your baby is going to be a patient in the NICU for a while, we will provide you with hands-on education that will help you care for your baby.

Our intensive care unit staff routinely cares for babies born from 27 to 44 weeks gestation (26 weeks on a case-by-case basis) as well as those with respiratory problems, infections, low blood sugar and jaundice. To provide this high level of care, the NICU has state-of-the-art equipment to help your baby.

Features and capabilities

Poudre Valley Hospital NICU: how we’re different

  • Highest level NICU between the Denver metro area and Rapid City, SD.
  • Routinely cares for critically ill babies born at 27 to 44 weeks (26 weeks on a case-by-case basis).
  • Will take readmissions up to an adjusted gestational age of 44 weeks.
  • 24/7 neonatologists and neonatal nurse practitioners.
  • State-of-the-art facility and equipment include high-frequency ventilation, nitric oxide and hypothermia therapy.
  • Private rooms.
  • Sleep sofa for parents who wish to stay overnight in their baby’s room.
  • Family support spaces.
  • Family-centered care.
  • Specialty trained nurses.
  • Certified lactation specialists to help with breastfeeding.
  • State-of-the-art facility and equipment.
  • Provides care closer to home.
  • OB critical care transport.

Our specialties include:

  • Neonatology
  • Maternal-fetal medicine
  • Neonatal nurse practitioners
  • Pediatric ophthalmology
  • Pediatric anesthesiology
  • Pediatric ENT
  • Pediatric orthopedics
  • Pediatric pharmacist
  • Dietitians
  • Radiology


What is the capacity of the PVH NICU?

In 2016, we nearly doubled the capacity of the PVH NICU, expanding from 19 to 32 beds, mostly in private rooms. We’re able to provide families with a private lounge and showers, and every room has a convertible sofa, so parents can stay overnight. Our expansion has made accommodating our patients and their families easier and provides an environment that better promotes healing while making their stay more comfortable.

In addition to an expanded capacity, our facility is fully equipped with the latest technology and capabilities, such as high-frequency ventilation, nitric oxide and hypothermia therapy.

Who designed the new NICU?

Getting it right from the patient and family perspective was a key goal when we designed the NICU. To make sure that happened, our design team included a representative from every group of people who take care of babies in the NICU, as well as multiple families of former NICU patients.

Why private rooms?

The latest research shows that babies grow better and have fewer complications during their stay when they are in a quiet environment with less stimulation. Also, private rooms give parents the opportunity to stay with their babies as much as possible and ensure their privacy. As the most important part of our care team, parents are now able to truly participate in their baby’s care as much as possible.

What other family support spaces will the unit have?

Every patient room is equipped with a special chair for “kangarooing” (holding a baby skin to skin) and a sleep sofa for parents who wish to stay overnight in their baby’s room. Parents have their own space, including outlets to recharge their laptops and smartphones. We have a parent lounge where families can grab a snack and relax. They may also eat meals there and socialize with other families. The unit has shower facilities for parents as well.

What other improvements have been made?

We upgraded technology to allow babies to be more closely monitored by staff from outside the room, which improves safety and allows the family more privacy and quiet time with their baby. Also, the improved lighting and ventilation contribute to a more healing environment. Some improvements are less noticeable, like the use of building materials that reduce noise in patient rooms.

Contact us

For additional questions:

Suze Ketchem, MSN, RNC-OB, CNS
Senior Director, Women and Children’s Service Line
Poudre Valley Hospital | Medical Center of the Rockies


The PVH NICU Parent and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) was created in 2015 to improve collaboration and the overall parent and family experience in the Poudre Valley Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The council is comprised of parent volunteers who have had children in the PVH NICU. By sharing their insights and experiences, the parent volunteers work together with the NICU staff to develop and implement programs for current and former NICU families.

Our mission

To advise the NICU staff on patient needs from a family’s perspective and to support a family-centered environment.

  • Development of a milestone bead program. Glass beads are distributed to commemorate unique and important milestones (first hold, first bath, hearing test, etc.) throughout a baby’s NICU stay.
  • Creation of parent and family education and support materials including activity and coloring books for siblings.
  • Distribution of “Welcome bags” filled with comfort care items (facial tissue, lotion, insulated milk storage bag, personalized card, etc.).
  • Establishment of a PVH Foundation NICU PFAC-specific fund. This fund supports the programs and initiatives created by the PFAC.
  • Participate in annual UCHealth NICU and Special Care Nursery reunion.
Want to get involved?

We are always looking for former NICU parents or family members to serve on the PFAC.

Volunteers must:

  • Be a parent or family member of an infant who as been in the Poudre Valley Hospital NICU.
  • Complete the UCHealth volunteer application process.
  • Commit to at least two years of involvement with the PFAC.
  • Attend monthly meetings.

Please email [email protected] for more information.

Donate now

Don’t have the time to become a PFAC member but still want to help support this important work? Consider a tax-deductible contribution to the PVH Foundation NICU PFAC fund!

Here are just a few examples of how your donation can directly support NICU families:

  • $10 will help provide photos and craft supplies for holidays and special events.
  • $25 will purchase a set of 20 Milestone Beads for one family.
  • $50 will support the development of parent, family, and staff educational resources.
  • $75 will fill Welcome Bags with comfort care items for five families.

To donate, go to the PVH and MCR Foundation page.