Level III & Level IV NICU Units

What level of care is best for your preemie baby? Many preemie parents are confused and lost in the Preemie and NICU world because they are NEW to it. That is ok, we were to. When our baby was born she was at a hospital with a level III(3) NICU unit. We stayed at this unit for 1 month, until we were transferred to a level 4 unit due to our baby girls health issues. Know as a parent, you have the right to transfer your child to any hospital of your choosing. We knew this but we were so overwhelmed with stress, sadness, worry, and confusion we never went through with it. On top of that, our NICU unit nurses at the level 3 facility always told us “there is no difference in care between us and a level 4 unit”. There may be no difference in care, but there is a difference in care options. What I mean by that is level 3 units can typically not carry out surgical procedures, level 4 NICU units can. Level 3 units are fantastic, they are wonderfully skilled and wonderful people. With that said limitations are present in level 3 units and I personally think level 3 units are for healthier, older, babies.

What to consider

Is your baby between 23-29 weeks old? If your baby is young I would advise, or at least consider, moving to a level 4 unit. Having a baby born this early one must understand your child is very prone to certain illnesses such as NEC, PVL, ROP, and so on(our child had all 3). Statistics are very high for such diagnosis’s at this age range. If you child is currently stable, it may be smart to transfer to another unit before you child develops one of the previously listed illnesses. On the other hand, if your child is struggling, you may find it best to keep you child where they are at. Ambulance rides are bumpy, and you may get airlifted, but our child was a breath away from death and was still taken by ambulance. It is really up to you what you do, just remember you are in control and even if medical staff tries to persuade or entice you to go a certain route you can request anything you want. I wish we would have transferred out child earlier. Level 4 units are more seasoned regarding certain diagnosis’s and may offer better preventative and corrective measures.

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