The NICU shall be a distinct area within the health care
facility, with controlled access and a controlled environment.
The NICU shall be located within space designed for that purpose.
It shall provide effective circulation of staff, family, and
equipment. Traffic to other services shall not pass through the
The NICU shall be in close and controlled proximity to the area
of the hospital where births occur. When obstetric and neonatal
services must be on separate floors of the Hospital, an elevator
located adjacent to the units with priority call and controlled
access by keyed operation shall be provided for service between the
birthing unit and the NICU.
Units receiving infants from other facilities shall have ready
access to the hospital's transport receiving area and shall
designate a space for transport equipment.
Interpretation: The purpose of this standard is
to provide safe and efficient transport of infants while respecting
their privacy. Accordingly, the NICU should be a distinct,
controlled area immediately adjacent to other perinatal services,
except in those local situations (e.g., free-standing children's
hospitals) where exceptions can be justified. Transport of infants
within the hospital should be possible without using public