Can parents spend the nite??

  1. Hi everyone,

    I hope this isn't a dumb question, but one of my co-worker's brand new baby nephew was born last Monday, but he was in distress because the cord was wrapped around his neck.

    He has been in the NICU since then because he is not breathing on his own, and he is not able to keep food down.

    I was wondering if it's a common practice to NOT ALLOW the mother to spend the nite with the baby if he/she's in the NICU?? I was a little concerned when my co-worker stated that her sister in law had to leave the hospital.

    Thank you from a 2nd yr nsg student......
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   Gompers
    Most NICUs have 24-hour visiting priviledges for parents, except for a few hours here and there when the docs are doing rounds or nurses are giving report and they need privacy. But most are also not set up for parents to spend the night. It's an intensive care unit, so it's not like a regular hospital room where you can turn off the lights and sleep at night. It's 24/7 critical care. Plus there is no room for beds for the parents to sleep in - while some units have tiny little rooms for each baby, most are set up in an "open" unit style meaning that there is no separation between babies, just space.

    I still say that new mothers need their sleep to heal and shouldn't be sitting in a rocker all night. It's hard to stay away from the baby, of course, but we don't want the mom getting sick herself! We try to take care of the whole family, but we can't have parents sleeping next to the baby when we're trying to provide critical care.

    I've never heard of parents being forced to leave, but if we have parents falling asleep, we suggest that they go home to rest and come back in the morning. If they're going to stay awake, they are free to be there all night.

    There are only a couple of exceptions we have...

    If a baby is going home with very complex medical needs - tracheostomy, home ventilator, continuous tube feedings, etc. - we sometimes have the parents spend 24 hours with the baby in a private corner of the unit so they can practice and see what it will be like to care for the baby 24/7. This is maybe a once a year occurance for us.

    Or if a baby is very very critical - coding often, possibly going to pass away overnight - then we let the parents sleep in our quiet room or waiting room so that if we need to get them quickly, they're only a few seconds away. Same thing if we get an emergency transport in the middle of the night and the family hasn't had time to find a hotel or get into Ronald McDonald house yet but they just drove 2 hours to be with the sick baby after transpot.
  4. by   TiffyRN
    Also I'm not sure what you mean; did you mean by "she was forced to leave" that she was not allowed to sleep at her baby's bedside or that she was discharged from the hospital. This is an issue at our hospital that moms think they should be allowed to stay admitted to the hospital until the baby is discharged and unfortunately insurance/medicaid doesn't reimburse for mom's hospital stay if she is fine but her baby is sick.

    As far as the other possibility; that she was not allowed to sleep at the baby's bedside. We also have this issue. Parents are not allowed to sleep at the bedside, we feel that resting is best accomplished in a bed, not a bed or rocker. If the baby is not expected to live; we have "rooming in" rooms we allow the parents to stay in if they are available. Also we have open visitation which means the parents can stay at the bedside nearly 24hrs a day (excepting about 1-1 1/2 hrs for shift change). My understanding is that our practices are pretty standard across the nation.
  5. by   live4rachael
    Personal experience... Our situation was a little different as we were in the PICU, not NICU, with our nearly 8-mth-old. She really wasn't doing well. But the PICU we were at had 22 of 24 hours where parents were allowed right there (the other 2 were for doctor rotations between 11-12 AM and PM). If parents needed to sleep, there were 5 rooms of bunk beds right next to the PICU, as well as a large waiting room with couches. A lot of parents conked out right there, we were fortunate to have gotten a room based on our situation (although we only used it for about 2 hours.) This was at a major children's hospital, I'm not sure if that's common though.
  6. by   prmenrs
    That's possible in a PICU not a NICU. What Gompers describes is the norm.

    A dedicated Children's Hospital might have Parent rooms, but the one time I needed to stay w/my son, they gave me a broken banana lounger because "all the recliners and waiting room spots were taken".
  7. by   dawngloves
    We have a room, but it's reserved for moms with really, really, really sick kiddos. You can sit at the bedside all you want. But you can't sleep there.
  8. by   cathys01
    Our unit is only "closed" between 6-8am and 6-8pm for shift change. Parents can stay at the bedside the other 20 hours a day... We do have "rooming-in" rooms for the kids/parents getting ready to go home, for the parents to spend the night taking care of their baby completely on their own (after all teaching is completed) the night before anticipated discharge.
  9. by   Mimi2RN
    Our parents can stay most of the time, just not through our report time. We don't let them fall asleep, then it's time for them to leave.

    We tell moms that they can stay 48 hours after a vaginal delivery, 96 hours after a c/s, and still find that the OB's will discharge the mom early, even with a baby in the NICU.

    One thing that bothers me, is a parent sitting at the bedside of a baby, and watching/listening to everything that goes on around them. I know it's an interesting place to be, but some families are just too nosy!:trout:
  10. by   NurseDiva08
    Thank you all for your replies. I have a better understanding now, and it's comforting to know that this is the "norm" for most hospitals.

    And Woo Hoo!!! after almost a week and a half, the baby came home today!!
  11. by   Gompers
    Quote from DebNJRN2B
    Thank you all for your replies. I have a better understanding now, and it's comforting to know that this is the "norm" for most hospitals.

    And Woo Hoo!!! after almost a week and a half, the baby came home today!!
    Good news, congrats!

    I think we're all still wondering though, what you mean by "had to leave the hospital" though. Did you mean that the OBs discharged her and wouldn't let her stay until the baby was discharged? Or did you mean that the nurses didn't let her sleep at the bedside? Just for our reference. It's always good to know families' perceptions of things, so we can strive to make things easier for them.
  12. by   wannabeL&D
    Quote from Mimi2RN
    Our parents can stay most of the time, just not through our report time. We don't let them fall asleep, then it's time for them to leave.

    We tell moms that they can stay 48 hours after a vaginal delivery, 96 hours after a c/s, and still find that the OB's will discharge the mom early, even with a baby in the NICU.

    One thing that bothers me, is a parent sitting at the bedside of a baby, and watching/listening to everything that goes on around them. I know it's an interesting place to be, but some families are just too nosy!:trout:
    OK, but if you are sitting there for hours, most of the time your baby is sleeping, what else are you supposed to do? It is kind of hard *not* to observe your surroundings.
  13. by   NurseDiva08
    Hi Gompers!!

    My friend's SIL wanted to stay at the hospital with the baby even though she herself was discharged from the hospital. I believe the hospital was basically just letting her know the policy of visiting hours.

    The SIL was very upset because she had to leave (being her first baby and all). She was told by the nurses that she needed her rest and that if there were any changes, they would call her. So, she wasn't physically forced to leave or anything like that.

    Then, after hearing her story, I was confused as to if this was just our little local hospital's policy or if this was a nationwide policy. But now with the info you provided, it def. makes more sense for the mother to get her rest and heal at home, while the baby is being taken care of by the staff w/o too much interference from mother/family.

    Thanks Again.....this site is awesome!!!

    Debra
  14. by   wannabeL&D
    Quote from DebNJRN2B
    Hi Gompers!!

    My friend's SIL wanted to stay at the hospital with the baby even though she herself was discharged from the hospital. I believe the hospital was basically just letting her know the policy of visiting hours.

    The SIL was very upset because she had to leave (being her first baby and all). She was told by the nurses that she needed her rest and that if there were any changes, they would call her. So, she wasn't physically forced to leave or anything like that.

    Then, after hearing her story, I was confused as to if this was just our little local hospital's policy or if this was a nationwide policy. But now with the info you provided, it def. makes more sense for the mother to get her rest and heal at home, while the baby is being taken care of by the staff w/o too much interference from mother/family.

    Thanks Again.....this site is awesome!!!

    Debra
    I realize some families may be difficult, but I don't think the mother wanting to spend time in the NICU with *her* baby is interference! I have had 2 NICU experiences, and it was far more healing for me to be physically with my baby, even sitting in a hard chair, than "resting" at home when the only place I wanted to be was holding my baby. I think its a little patronizing to presume where the mother/family should be while their baby is in the hospital. JMHO.

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