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Report of the Eighth Census Conference on Newborn ICU Design
Committee to Establish Recommended Standards for Newborn ICU Design
Robert D. White, MD, Chair
January 26, 2012 Clearwater Beach, FL
   September 18, 2012
Standard 6 - Private (Single-Family) Rooms

Rooms intended for the use of a single infant and his/her family shall conform to the requirements for infant spaces designated elsewhere in these standards, with the following exceptions:

  • Minimum size shall be no less than 165 square feet (15.3 square meters) of clear floor area.
  • An outside window is not required (see Standard 25 for further specifics).
  • The requirement for wireless monitor and communication devices shall be identical to that described for isolation rooms (see Standard 7).
  • Each room shall be designed to allow visual and speech privacy for the infant and family.
  • Family space shall be designated and be able to include, at a minimum:
    • A comfortable reclining chair suitable for kangaroo/skin-to-skin care
    • A recumbent sleep surface for at least one parent
    • A desk or surface suitable for writing and/or use of a laptop computer
    • At least four electrical outlets for use and charging of electronic devices.
    • No less than 6 cubic feet (0.2 cubic meter) of storage space
  • Staff space shall be designated and include, at a minimum:
    • A work surface of no less than 6 square feet (0.6 square meters)
    • A charting surface of no less than 3 square feet (0.3 square meters)
    • Supply storage of no less than 30 cubic feet (0.85 cubic meter).
      • NOTE: The above requirements can be met by any combination of fixed and portable casework desired, but all storage must be designed for quiet operation.

Interpretation: Private (single-family) rooms allow improved ability to provide individualized and private environments for each baby and family when compared to multi-patient rooms. In order to provide adequate space at the bedside for both caregivers and families, however, these rooms need to be somewhat larger than an infant space in an open multi-bed room design, and they must have additional bedside storage and communication capabilities in order to avoid isolation or excessive walking of caregivers.

Although desirable, it may not be possible to provide a window for each room due to a finite amount of outside wall area. It is most important to utilize the available window area first for the gathering spaces used by family and caregivers, and then secondarily for patient rooms.


Additional Information
last updated September 19, 2012  Kathleen Kolberg, University of Notre Dame