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Level IV NICU, Highest Level Certified by Ohio

Neonatal Intensive Care UnitThe Quentin & Elisabeth Alexander Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’sHospital represents the highest standard of NICU design, technology and clinical practice. Opened in 2009, the NICU is a model for others around the country and the world.

Our Level IV NICU, the highest level certified by the state of Ohio and a designation we’ve held for over two decades, is staffed and equipped to care for critically ill infants in need of emergency surgery or low birth weight babies born weighing less than two pounds. It unites advanced technology, the latest research and highly ranked clinical services in a homelike environment pioneered by our team.

The Quentin & Elisabeth Alexander NICU was an investment of over $25 million, partly supported by a $10 million gift from the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Foundation. It was named in honor of two long time trustees of the Prentiss Foundation and passionate supporters of University Hospitals.

Thoughtful Design for Babies, Families and Innovative Medicine

Landmark neonatal research conducted by our physicians in the 1960s on parent–infant bonding and other research that has followed has shown that babies heal faster when they are in close contact with their parents. So, we designed every aspect of our NICU around the needs of babies and their families.

Every inch of the NICU supports a critical mission: giving each baby the best fighting chance to thrive while offering comfort and convenience for families. The acoustic design uses advanced equipment and communications to minimize lights, sounds and disruptions. Even air quality is enhanced or kept pure through environmentally-friendly flooring, wall treatments and other furnishings. The space emulates the warmth, calm and stillness of the womb to promote a healing, stable and secure environment.

Family members can stay close to baby around the clock in private rooms. While the NICU is the first home for many newborns, it also becomes the family’s second home. For that reason, we have included showers, sofa beds, TVs and wireless internet to make the family’s stay more comfortable. Colors, natural light, warm décor and original art work contribute to the healing environment. We have also created special quiet zones for relaxation and relieving stress for our NICU families.

Technically Advanced Procedure Room Right in the NICU

A high-intensity procedure room in the NICU reduces the need to move fragile NICU babies to other areas of the hospital for diagnostics such as radiology or complex procedures such as surgery.

The unit is equipped with the world’s first surgical bed designed specifically for the smallest newborns, the Rainbow Flex. This advancement was developed right here in collaboration with surgeons, pediatric anesthesiologists, neonatal nurses and respiratory therapists. Thanks to highly advanced technology, the care team communicates through a quiet, hands-free wireless system, eliminating buzzers and ringing phones.

A sophisticated monitoring system connects each baby to a nurse’s station with a web cam and sound, and electronically transmits vital signs. It enables round-the-clock monitoring while limiting room visits so disturbances are minimized.

Highly Regarded Specialists, Multidisciplinary Team

Our newborn care specialists are experts in their field with the breadth and scope to treat a wide range of conditions, including those that are very rare.

What sets UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital apart is our dedication to a high standard of care that is collaborative, well-coordinated and family-centered. Our team has trained physicians who now serve in neonatology leadership roles around the world with the pillars of our unique approach to neonatology excellence.

Specialty newborn care often requires a wide range of specialty services, particularly for babies with complex problems, including:


UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospitals now offers a specialized neuro-neonatal intensive care unit with our Level IV NICU. This first-in-the-region program brings together specialists in neonatology, pediatric neurology and neurosurgery, pediatric neuroradiology and others to provide collaborative around-the-clock care for newborns with neurological issues. Conditions our neuro-NICU treats include intraventricular hemorrhage, seizures, hydrocephalus, in utero stroke and extreme prematurity.

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