Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Central Denver

Rose Babies NICU

When you choose Rose Medical Center, you can feel confident knowing that your newborn is receiving top-notch neonatal care when they are admitted to our NICU. Our award-winning Level III NICU provides intensive medical care for newborns who are born prematurely or with a mild to serious illness. We provide attentive, expert care for our smallest patients and are able to care for babies as early as 24 weeks of gestation.

The Rose Babies NICU recently named #1 in HCA Healthcare. Learn more about this prestigious achievement. HCA Healthcare Unit of Distinction Award. Excellence in Nursing. #1 NICU

When your child is admitted to the NICU it can often be unexpected and frightening. At Rose, we understand your fears and anxieties, so we not only provide state-of-the-art, lifesaving care for your child, but we also treat you and your family with compassion and care. We believe in using the healing power of love and touch to give our youngest patients the best care possible. Our mission statement is to provide the highest quality of healthcare in collaboration with the family while supporting the optimal development of the infant.

"I knew Rose would take the best care of my baby girl while she grew strong enough to go home. I cannot thank the Rose NICU nurses enough. They are like part of my family now."

Read NICU graduate stories

The Rose NICU team is among the most experienced in Denver, Colorado in treating premature and ill newborns. We do everything in our power to get you and your baby home as quickly as possible so that you can concentrate on what is important—being a family.

NICU amenities and services

  • Level III NICU, meaning the likelihood that your child will need to be transferred is very low.
  • 24 beds located in 18 private rooms.
  • Specially reserved convenient parking just for NICU parents in our main garage at 9th Avenue and Cherry Street.
  • Infant rooms that accommodate the family to stay at the bedside as much as they desire.
  • 24/7 coverage by board-certified neonatologists, doctors who specialize in the care of premature and seriously ill newborns, and neonatal nurse practitioners.
  • A highly trained team of NICU nurses with an average 16 years of NICU experience among them
  • Parents can be with their newborns 24 hours a day.
  • State-of-the-art special NICU beds that transform from an incubator to a crib. This allows the bed to change as your child grows and gets stronger.
  • Waiting area for visitors.
  • Three certified lactation consultants who are also NICU nurses.
  • Donor breast milk available.
  • Skin-to-skin contact is encouraged, and we will support mom and baby to physically do so.
  • Specialized beds designed to transfer baby anywhere in the hospital while remaining in the bed.
  • A Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) with the aid of a trained developmental specialist.
  • Compassionate and comprehensive treatment for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

All of the rooms in our NICU are private and several are able to hold twins and/or triplets. Our NICU team supports our moms’ efforts to breastfeed their little ones. Each NICU room has its own refrigerator and bottle warmer for easy-to-access milk storage and preparation. Rose has specialized breast pumps designed to increase milk production for the premature infant.

Rose wants NICU parents to know they are not alone, that is why we offer daily tea time designed for families to interact. We are able to help parents facilitate other times to speak with other families.

Clean Hands Campaign

At the Rose NICU, we take hand hygiene very seriously. A large part of providing safe care for your child is ensuring everyone has clean hands. We do that by encouraging visiting parents and staff to:

  • Wash your hands every time you enter the unit at the scrub sink near check-in.
  • Remove all jewelry below the elbows when providing care to your baby, this includes bracelets, watches, rings and fitness trackers.
  • Remove your parent ID band if you are no longer inpatient. Keep it in a safe place!
  • Roll your sleeves up above your elbows when providing care to your baby.
  • Keep your nails clean and trimmed to a quarter inch.
  • Remove any artificial and/or acrylic nails, including shellac, gel and dip nail polish.
  • Ensure that normal nail polish is in good condition and not chipping.
  • Use an alcohol wipe to clean your phone.

Remember to clean your hands:

  • After using the restroom
  • Before touching your mouth, nose or eyes
  • Before eating, drinking or taking medications
  • Before touching wounds, dressings or procedure sites
  • After blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
  • After touching the isolette or bedside tables
  • When they look dirty
  • Always after you touch your phone

We also empower you to ask your caregivers to maintain proper hand sanitation, this includes doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, developmental therapists and anyone else providing care to your baby.

Thank you for helping us maintain a healthy environment for your baby.

Frequently asked questions about our NICU

If you have any questions not answered below, or would just like to know more information, please contact Rose Babies High Risk Navigator at (720) 216-4290.

Who can I contact to arrange for a NICU tour before my child’s birth so I can know what to expect?

If your physician has told you to prepare for a NICU stay, please contact Rose Babies High Risk Navigator at (720) 216-4290 to arrange a NICU tour. Due the delicate nature of this unit, NICU tours are offered on a very limited basis.

Does Rose Medical Center have a high-risk obstetrics team?

The Rose Center for Maternal-Fetal Health offers experienced doctors, visionary treatments and compassionate care for mothers and babies who are considered to be high-risk. Whether you come to us for routine prenatal screenings or more specialized testing and care, our physicians and medical staff are here to make sure you get the care you need and understand what is happening every step of the way.

Why is my child in the NICU?

Your baby is in the NICU for observation and to receive special care from nurses, doctors and other professionals who are specially trained to take care of premature and sick newborns. In order to determine the specialized care your infant requires, speak with your prenatal care provider prior to delivery and/or the neonatologist once your infant has been admitted to the Rose NICU.

Will the same nurses always take care of my baby?

The same team of nurses will take care of your baby while he or she is in the Rose NICU. However, the nurse assigned to your infant may vary by shift. After a few days, you will probably get to know the members of your infant’s team. Members of the team work closely with each other to ensure that whoever takes care of your baby has the latest information about unique treatments, needs and tolerances.

Are pediatric experts available in the NICU 24 hours a day?

The Rose Babies NICU has board certified neonatologists, dedicated NICU nurses and four NICU lactation consultants. We also have a dedicated NICU occupational therapist and a dedicated NICU developmental therapist. Our healthcare providers are always present in the NICU to address any questions parents may have about the care of their infant.

How long do babies tend to stay in the NICU?

The average length of stay is 12 to 14 days, but some babies stay longer, and some are only with us for a few hours. We encourage you to speak to your physician about your baby’s specific needs.

Who do I speak to about my baby’s prognosis and length of stay as well as the best way to care for my preemie?

We encourage parents to create a list of questions to discuss with your prenatal provider, neonatologists and NICU nurses to gain a better understanding of what to expect. Babies usually stay in the NICU until their condition improves enough for them to go home. If born early, your baby will need to be able to breathe well without help, keep a normal body temperature, feed well, gain weight regularly and have no signs or symptoms of illness or infection.

How will I feed my baby?

The Rose Babies NICU team includes nutritionists who specialize in the nutritional needs of infants. They advocate for the best nutritional resources for your infant. Breastfeeding is encouraged, but gavage/tube feeding may be necessary.

How are breathing (respiratory) problems managed?

Rose Babies NICU rooms are equipped with high-frequency ventilation equipment. Neonatologists and specially trained respiratory therapists oversee infant breathing therapies.

Do all NICUs have the same capabilities?

All NICUs care for babies who need special help, but different NICUs offer different levels of care. Rose Babies NICU is a Level III NICU, according to standards specified by the American Academy of Pediatrics. As a Level III NICU we can take care of just about any infant need, which means that the likelihood of a transfer for care is very low.

What is the environment in the NICU like?

The Rose Babies state-of-the-art NICU is a 24-hour locked down unit that holds a maximum of 24 babies. We offer five specialized rooms for twins and one for triplets. Parents can stay with their babies 24/7.

We also boast the best preemie environment to date. All facets of the design have been selected and used to provide the most optimal healthcare environment for preemie development and growth, including:

  • Natural light at the nurses’ station
  • Central monitoring
  • Flooring
  • Low sound levels
  • Lighting

Where do babies in the NICU sleep?

Our NICU babies use state-of-the-art "giraffe" beds. These beds are not only safe and highly advanced, they are also designed for no transfers, meaning the bed goes with the baby, and it grows with the baby as it can be adjusted for his or her needs.

When can I hold my baby? Do you do Kangaroo Care?

We believe that the importance of touch, especially from a parent, is vital to a newborn’s development. As soon as your baby is stabilized, skin-to-skin contact is encouraged, and a Kangaroo Care schedule is implemented. Sometimes you may need help from your baby’s nurse because of your child’s condition or special equipment. Our team will work with you to ensure you and your baby are as comfortable as possible.

Are resources available to support NICU parents?

Rose wants NICU parents to know they are not alone, so we offer daily tea time designed for families to interact. This program is offered weekdays from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Additionally, a free continental breakfast is available for birth partners every morning from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. in the fish tank waiting area.

Our team also offers a specialized NICU iPads communication program so family can “meet” the new baby or mom can “see” her baby while she continues to recover in a different area of the hospital. If mom is discharged before baby, she can take the iPad home and can spend as much time watching over her baby using the iPad as she wants. 

How often will I be able to visit my infant in the NICU? When can I be allowed to see my baby?

You may see your baby as often as you would like! Parents are always welcome, 24 hours a day seven days a week. We encourage you to care for your infant as much as you can.

You may also create a list of designated visitors allowed to visit your baby without being escorted by a parent/guardian with a bracelet matching baby’s. During flu season, however, siblings are not allowed in the NICU. Please ask your nurse the dates of flu season for our hospital.

All family and friends are welcome to visit with your permission. But, because newborns are small and might not always feel well, we try to make sure only a few people visit at a time. The number of visitors at one time is at the discretion of the nurse.

Are overnight stays for parents welcome and convenient?  

It is incredibly important that moms and dads can touch, talk to and read to their baby. Patients may room with their infants in the NICU or, for families who live further away from Rose Medical Center, there is an option for families to board on the third floor for a small fee.

Are families allowed to use cell phones in Rose Babies NICU?

Cell phones are allowed, but must be on vibrate or silent while in the NICU.

Does my preemie qualify for Medicaid or supplemental security income (SSI)?

If you are concerned about financial responsibility/obligation you may speak with a Rose Medical Center social worker to see if your baby qualifies for Medicaid or SSI. The program is not income based while your preemie is in the hospital, this only comes into play after your infant is discharged, so you could very well qualify based on your preemie’s birth weight or other qualifications.

Will I have to pay for parking while I am visiting my infant in the NICU?

Rose Medical Center offers complimentary valet parking 24 hours a day. You are also welcome to take advantage of the Rose Babies parking spaces in the self-parking area in the parking garage located at 9th Avenue and Cherry Street.

Will I have access to my infant’s electronic medical chart?

As part of our commitment to family-centered care, you will have access to your infant’s medical chart. To access this information, you will need to create a MyHealthOne account.

If I am uncomfortable with the nurse assigned to my infant may I request a different nurse?

Please ask to speak to the charge nurse or the nurse manager if you have any concerns about the care your baby is receiving. Our number one priority is keeping you and your baby healthy and safe.

When will my baby boy be able to be circumcised if he is in the NICU?

If you have chosen to have your son circumcised, the procedure will take place a few days before going home. You may choose to have the procedure done by your obstetrician or a member of the hospital’s obstetrical staff. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about circumcision.

How do families prepare to go home?

To ensure continuity of care, the providers in Rose Babies NICU communicate with your pediatrician in preparation for your baby’s discharge. Parents also receive training and an explanation of what to expect at home.

Specially trained nurses, called discharge planners, provide education to the parents of all NICU infants. Rose Babies NICU recognizes that education and training make a world of difference in a family’s ability to cope with the demands of a fragile infant.

Is there a plan in place for regular follow-up care?

If you have not chosen a pediatrician, Rose Babies will provide you with referrals to providers who will be able to care for your infant’s fragile needs.

Key NICU terminology

When you are in the hospital, sometimes it can feel like you are having to translate an alphabet soup of acronyms alongside what could be considered a foreign language of medical terms. While your child is with us at Rose Babies NICU, never feel too uncomfortable to ask your doctor, nurse or our childbirth navigator about anything you do not understand.

NICU staff

The following is a list of specially trained infant healthcare providers who may care for your child while they are in the NICU:

  • Neonatologist: a pediatrician who has special training to care for sick and premature newborns.
  • Neonatal fellow: A pediatrician who is training to become a neonatologist.
  • Hospitalist: A pediatrician trained to care for sick newborns.
  • Resident: A doctor who is training in a medical specialty.
  • Neonatal nurse practitioner: An RN with a master’s degree who has training to care for sick and premature newborns and works under the direction of a neonatologist.
  • Clinical nurse specialist: An RN with a master’s degree who specializes in the care and education of patients with specific conditions.
  • RN: A registered nurse.
  • LPN: A licensed practical nurse who works under the direction of an RN.
  • PCT: A patient care technician who works under the direction of an RN.
  • Respiratory therapist: A professional with training in respiratory conditions who operates the medical equipment to care for babies with breathing problems.
  • Occupational therapist: A professional with training to help baby’s muscles work properly.
  • Social worker: A professional who helps you with emotional concerns for your baby in the nursery, helps you deal with financial needs and helps you get special equipment or caregivers when your baby is ready to go home.
  • Nutritionist: A registered dietitian who specializes in helping newborns eat and grow.
  • Lactation counselor: A professional with special training to help mothers with breastfeeding.

Glossary of common NICU terms

  • Apnea: Breathing stops for more than 15 seconds.
  • Blood gases: Checked for levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
  • Blood sugar (glucose): Checked for proper balance.
  • Bradycardia: Slow heartbeat.
  • Catheter: A small, thin plastic tube used to give or remove fluids.
  • C-PAP (continuous positive airway pressure): Air given through two small tubes just inside the nose.
  • Developmental care: Special attention to baby’s stage of development and ability to tolerate activity.
  • Endotracheal tube: A small plastic tube used to connect baby’s lungs to a “breathing machine” or ventilator.
  • Gavage feeding: A small tube in the nose or mouth that delivers food to the stomach or intestines.
  • High-frequency ventilation: A special “breathing machine” or ventilator that “breathes” for the baby at a very fast rate.
  • Incubator/isolette: A clear plastic bed for baby with a special heating/warming system.
  • Intravenous: Into a vein.
  • Jaundice: Temporary yellow color of skin and eyes usually due to an immature liver.
  • Kangaroo care: A special way to hold baby, bundled in a blanket or shirt and placed on mom’s or dad’s bare chest.
  • Meconium: Dark green, gooey stool, which is baby’s first bowel movement.
  • NAS: Neonatal abstinence syndrome.
  • Ophthalmologist: A doctor who specializes in the care and treatment of the eyes.
  • Oxygen: A gas needed for breathing.
  • Phototherapy: A blue fluorescent light used to treat jaundice.
  • Premature: Infants born before 37 weeks of gestation.
  • Pulse oximeter: Placed on baby’s foot or hand to measure oxygen in the blood.
  • Radiant warmer: A special bed with an overhead heater to keep baby warm.
  • Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS): A serious breathing problem that mainly affects babies born prematurely.
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): A virus that can cause severe breathing problems in very young babies.
  • Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP): An eye disorder in babies born prematurely that can lead to vision loss or blindness.
  • Sepsis: A widespread infection in the blood.
  • Surfactant: A substance in the lungs that helps keep the small air sacks from collapsing.
  • Tachycardia: Fast heartbeat.
  • Ultrasound: A test that uses sound waves on the outside of the body to produce a picture of the inside.
  • Ventilator: A machine to help breathing, also commonly known as a respirator.