Pediatric Nutrition Services within The Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Introduction:
The Newborn Intensive Care Unit is a special care nursery for the medical management of the preterm or critically ill neonate.  The unit at UVA Health System is comprised of 40 beds and is staffed by neonatologists, neonatalogy fellows, neonatal nurse practitioners, and neonatal RNs.  The NICU Nutritionist plays an active role in the NICU.

Role of Neonatal Nutritionist:

  • Initial assessment for all infants within 72 hours of admission.
  • Assist NICU residents with entry of TPN orders as "suspend" orders.
  • Follow-up as appropriate per protocol.
  • Participation in team rounds.
  • Parent & caretaker education for infants being discharged on high calorie formula or fortified breast milk or any other specialized formula, when needed.
  • Monthly Neonatal Nutrition lecture to the new interns.
  • Nutrition education and orientation of new NICU nurses.

Screening in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit
In the NICU, interns and residents complete a thorough assessment within the first 24 hours which includes the following basic nutrition screening data:

  • Birth weight, length and head circumference
  • Intrauterine %-iles for weight, length and head circumference using the Lubchenco Intrauterine growth charts
  • Gestational age
  • Major diagnoses

Based on the above documented nutrition screening data, the neonatal nutritionist will determine which infants are at risk and will complete a full assessment on the following neonates within 72 hours of admission:

  • All infants under 1200 grams
  • All infants requiring parenteral nutrition
  • Infants with major gastrointestinal anomalies
  • Infants with intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) #6516