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Newborn Intensive Care and NICUs

Your baby’s health is our highest priority. Babies who are born premature or with medical issues receive expert care at St. Luke’s Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICUs), where our board certified neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners, and dedicated nurses are here for you and your baby—anytime, day and night.

Highlights & Resources

  • Article

    Runaway Hamsters

  • Blog Post

    Annual NICU Reunion Picnic Celebrates Graduates and Thanks Caregivers

  • Blog Post

    Baby Joziah Heads Home after 100 Days in St. Luke’s Magic Valley NICU

  • Blog Post

    St. Luke’s NICUs Achieve 98.6% Overall Survival Rate

NICU Levels of Care at St. Luke’s

St. Luke's Children's Hospital in Boise is home to Idaho's largest and most experienced Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Board-certified neonatologists are on site for 24/7 immediate care, and work with a broad array of pediatric surgical and medical subspecialists.

Virtually every newborn with an emergency or long-term need can be cared for in the Children's Hospital NICU, which is rated as a level 4 NICU (minus complex cardiac surgery and ECMO). This means we provide the highest level of neonatal care, with the exception of heart surgery and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), also known as heart-lung bypass. 

We work very closely with children's hospitals around the western United States who can provide these higher levels of care. Our dedicated Air St. Luke's maternal-child transport team provides safe transport when infants require care out of state, and our pediatric subspecialists provide follow-up care when they return home.

Our Magic Valley NICU is rated level 3, offering complex care by the same group of neonatal doctors and nurse practitioners as our Boise NICU. These doctors and nurses are on site 24/7. Some infants with more serious or long-term illnesses, complex medical issues, or extreme prematurity will be transported to the Boise NICU for more specialized medical or surgical care.

The Meridian NICU is rated level 2, which means we care for infants who are 8 weeks premature or less, and infants with medical issues that are considered moderate, stable, or expected to resolve quickly. This may include IV feedings and infusions, tube feedings, or oxygen and noninvasive respiratory support. The same neonatologists and neonatal nurse practitioners who staff our Boise NICU are on site or on call at Meridian as well. 

The Air St. Luke's maternal-child team transports babies to the Boise NICU from surrounding areas, and also transfers babies from Boise to the Magic Valley and Meridian NICUs to bring them closer to home as their conditions improve.

NIDCAP Nursery

The St. Luke's Children's Hospital NICU is a certified Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) nursery. The mission of NIDCAP is to ensure that the highest quality of individualized, developmentally supportive, family-centered care is available to all newborns in intensive and special care nurseries. St. Luke's is also one of only 16 NIDCAP training sites for medical professionals worldwide.

To learn more about NIDCAP, call (208) 381-2661.

NICU Follow-up Clinic

St. Luke's NICU Follow-up Clinic, held at the Children's Specialty Center in Boise, provides continued assessment for many NICU babies after they "graduate" from the unit. Clinic staff members evaluate children's growth and development, ensure their access to resources, and coach parents in recognizing and caring for growth or developmental concerns.

Staff includes a behavior and development pediatric physician specialist, developmental specialist, neonatal nurses, social workers, pediatric physical and occupational therapists, speech and language specialists, and child psychologists.

For more information, call (208) 381-7075.

Parent Support and Advocacy

For information on support and advocacy groups for parents of babies in the NICU, contact the NICU social worker or talk with your nurse:

  • Boise: (208) 381-3254 or (208) 381-7673
  • Magic Valley: (208) 814-3620
  • Meridian: (208) 706-1565