Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Charles Bend provides specialized medical care for premature and sick babies with all levels of complications. Our NICU operates at Level III status, serving infants at all stages of gestational development.

As the only designated NICU in the region, we care for fragile newborns from nearby, as well as babies transferred from hospitals across Central and Eastern Oregon.

Your baby’s stay in our unit

St. Charles NICU is committed to giving your baby the highest quality of care. During your baby’s stay, you will see a variety of people at his or her bedside. It is always your right to ask who is helping care for your baby. Please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself, inquire about the role of anyone in your baby’s room or ask questions.

Visitation, privacy and security

All parents and visitors must sign in each day to confirm that they are free of signs of infection and have adhered to infection control standards. Parents and visitors may be asked to present a hospital band or picture ID. Parents are an integral part of the care team. You are welcome and encouraged to visit your baby or call for a report at any time. All other visitors can visit between the hours of 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Housing options

The Bend Ronald McDonald House® is a free home away from home for families of pediatric patients, birth through 21, receiving medical care in Bend. The organization provides a warm bed, a fully stocked kitchen and other amenities. Interested families should contact a hospital social worker at 541-706-6360. Tours of the House That Love Built® are available daily.

Infection prevention in the NICU

Parents and visitors must wash or sanitize their hands following the specific directions for proper hand hygiene. Hand hygiene should take place at the following times:

  • Before entering the NICU
  • Upon entering or leaving a patient room
  • Before and after touching your baby
  • After diaper changes and before other care
  • After touching surfaces such as furniture, equipment, cell phones or toys
  • After using the bathroom

All parents and visitors entering the NICU must be free of signs of infection and contagious disease, including:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Pink eye or eye discharge
  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Open sores
  • Diarrhea

Parents and visitors must adhere to additional visitor restrictions and/or infection prevention measures, such as wearing gowns, gloves and/or masks when indicated by the baby’s condition or community outbreaks as instructed by the health care team.

Advanced technology

We've created an environment to promote a baby's growth and development, including:

  • Circadian lighting that adjusts for a baby's day and night sleep cycles

  • "Giraffe" beds that create a womb-like environment for premature babies that are temperature and humidity-controlled and include built-in scales

Family-centered care

We support families during this tender time by making the NICU an oasis of comfort:

  • Private and semi-private rooms allow for quiet bonding time.

  • Innovative beds allow babies in incubators to be touched.

  • Necessary respite is available in a warm and soothing family waiting area.

  • Families may stay overnight at the NICU with access to a refrigerator for storing breast milk.

Other important points to remember:

  • Up to two visitors (not including parents) will be allowed at the patient’s bedside at one time. All visitors must be with a parent, unless pre-authorized.
  • Visitors must be at least 14 years old to enter the NICU, unless they are a brother or sister of the baby. Siblings need to be supervised for safety as well as respect for other families in the NICU.
  • Visitors may be asked to leave if they are disruptive to the patient or other visitors.
  • Parents will need to follow safety precautions as instructed by the nurse to provide a safe environment for the patient. There is no sleeping on the floors in patient rooms.
  • To preserve privacy and confidentiality for yourself and other families, please refrain from entering other patient rooms or asking about other patients.
  • We will not give any medical information to anyone other than a parent. A password or band number will be required to obtain information over the phone.
  • We make every attempt to protect your right to privacy.