Distinct facilities shall be provided for clean and soiled
utilities, medical equipment storage, and unit management
Clean Utility/Holding Area(s): For storage of supplies frequently
used in the care of newborns.
Soiled Utility/Holding Room: Essential for storing used and
contaminated material before its removal from the care area. Unless
used only as a holding room, this room shall contain a counter and a
hands-free handwashing station separate from any utility sinks. The
handwashing station shall have hot and cold running water that is
turned on and off by hands-free controls, soap and paper towel
dispensers, and a covered waste receptacle with foot control.
The ventilation system in the soiled utility/holding room shall
be engineered to have negative air pressure with air 100% exhausted
to the outside. The soiled utility/holding room shall be situated to
allow removal of soiled materials without passing through the infant
A designated area for collection of recyclable materials used in
the NICU shall be established. This area shall measure at least one
square foot per patient bed and be located outside the patient care
Charting/Staff Work Areas: Provision for charting space at each
bedside shall be provided. An additional separate area or desk for
tasks such as compiling more detailed records, completing
requisitions, and telephone communication shall be provided in an
area acoustically separated from the infant and family areas.
Dedicated space shall be allocated as necessary for electronic
medical record keeping within infant care areas.
Interpretation: Storage Areas: A three-zone
storage system is desirable. The first storage area should be the
central supply department of the hospital.
The second storage zone is the clean utility area described in
the standard; it should be adjacent to and acoustically separated
from the infant care area. Routinely used supplies such as diapers,
formula, linen, cover gowns, charts, and information booklets may be
stored in this space. There should be at least 8 cubic feet (0.22
cubic meters) for each infant for secondary storage of syringes,
needles, intravenous infusion sets, and sterile trays.
There should also be at least 18 square feet (1.7 square meters)
of floor space allocated for equipment storage per infant in
intermediate care, and 30 square feet (2.8 square meters) for each
infant bed in intensive care. Total storage space may vary by unit
size and storage system.
Easily accessible electrical outlets are desirable in this area
for recharging equipment.
The third storage zone is for items frequently used at the
infant's bedside. Bedside cabinet storage should be at least 16
cubic feet (0.45 cubic meters) for each infant in the intermediate
care area and 24 cubic feet (0.67 cubic meters) for each infant in
the intensive care area. Bedside storage should be designed for
Hospitals contribute significant waste each year to incinerators
and landfills. This creates not only an environmental hazard, but
also conditions that are harmful to human health. Providing a
designated collection area enables staff to separate and store for
collection waste such as paper, newsprint, corrugated cardboard,
plastics, metals, batteries, fluorescent lamps, and glass to either
facilitate existing hospital procedures for recycling or initiate a
recycling system. Space within the designated collection area also
may be used for collection of medical supplies for distribution to
hospitals or clinics in need of such materials.
Charting/Staff Work Areas: A clerical area should be located near
the entrance to the NICU so personnel can supervise traffic into the
unit. In addition, there should be one or more staff work areas,
each serving 8 to 16 beds. These areas will allow groups of 3-6
caregivers to congregate immediately adjacent to the infant care
area for report, collaboration, and socialization without impinging
on infant or family privacy. Infants' charts, computer terminals,
and hospital forms may be located in this space.
Design of the NICU must anticipate use of electronic medical
record devices so that their introduction does not require major
disruption of the function of the unit or impinge on space designed
for other purposes. Design considerations include ease of access for
staff, patient confidentiality, infection control and noise control,
both with respect to that generated by the devices and by the
traffic around them.
Laundry Room: If laundry facilities for infant materials are
provided, a separate laundry room can serve the functions of laundry
and toy cleaning within the NICU. Infant clothing and the cloth
covers of positioning aids should be laundered on a regular schedule
and as needed. In addition, toys utilized by infants or siblings are
required to be cleaned on a regular schedule for each infant and
between infants. Space for a commercial-grade washer and dryer
should be accommodated. The dryer should be vented through an
outside wall. The placement of a commercial-grade dishwasher could
promote the efficiency and effectiveness of the aseptic cleaning
process for toys.