Contact the NICU
The NICU is open 24 hours per day/7 days per week, but please refrain from calling the NICU during shift changes (7 to 8 a.m. and 7 to 8 p.m.).
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
3800 Reservoir Road., NW
Main Building, Third Floor
Washington, DC 20007
As a parent/caregiver, you can stay with your baby whenever you want, for as long as you want. Our doors are open 24 hours a day except during shift changes.
The parent/caregiver must accompany each visitor, with no more than two people at the bedside at a time.
You may take pictures or videos of your baby whenever you wish as long as other NICU families or babies are not in the photo or video.
We encourage you to keep your baby’s brothers and sisters updated about their sibling’s progress. Visiting with the baby can help young children understand why the baby cannot come home, where you are spending your time, and prepare them for their new role as big sisters or brothers. Pictures and books are another good way to help explain how the baby is doing. Parents/caregivers must accompany siblings at all times while at the Hospital.
Nevertheless, young children can easily develop misconceptions about what is happening. Talk to your children about what they saw and heard and answer any questions they may have about equipment, noises, or how their little brother or sister looked.
All siblings must be current on all immunizations. An immunization record must be shown on the sibling’s first visit and validated by a physician, nurse practitioner, or registered nurse in the NICU. If siblings are not current on immunizations, they will not be able to visit the NICU. Please note that at certain times of the year, such as flu season, sibling visits may be restricted.
The NICU Cuddlers program provides special training to volunteers, who under the supervision of nurses, provide unhurried quiet time holding babies when parents/ caregivers cannot be present in the NICU. Volunteers are carefully vetted and then trained to provide comfort and emotional well-being to NICU babies. If you have questions or concerns about the Cuddlers program, please do not hesitate to let your baby’s nurse know.
Things to remember
On your first visit to the NICU, you will receive a bracelet identifying you as your baby’s parent/caregiver and indicating your baby’s medical record number. Please keep this bracelet on you when you visit. You will also be asked for a portion of this number when you call for information about your baby.
Please silence your cell phones when entering the NICU, and do not use them while holding your baby. Please clean cell phones at the sinks located outside the NICU doors before coming into the NICU and wash your hands after each cell phone use.
Your baby has set rest times and care times which the nurse will communicate to you. Please note that each baby has their own schedule; consult with your nurse as to the appropriate times to hold and practice kangaroo care with your baby.
To protect the babies in our NICU, the health status of all visitors, including siblings, will be checked. Parents/caregivers must submit a vaccine record for their other children before their first visit. Visitors must be free of sore throats, colds, fevers, or other contagious illnesses. They also must not have been exposed to infectious diseases, such as chicken pox, during the previous four weeks.
As an additional precaution, all parents/caregivers, siblings, and visitors must wash their hands and arms thoroughly at the sinks located outside the NICU doors. Complete instructions for proper washing are posted at the sinks.