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Using Medical Equipment

Does your baby have complex medical needs? Does your baby depend on medical technology? If that is the case, there are many things to think about to have your baby go home from the hospital safely.

Through your child’s NICU stay, your baby and family will have a case manager. Our case managers are registered nurses who work with:

  • Home care companies called durable medical equipment (DME) companies
  • Insurance companies and families to make sure that:
    • All necessary medical equipment is ordered correctly
    • You get the best services from your insurance provider
  • Your family to make sure that you have been properly trained on any home equipment before leaving the hospital

There are many different types of typical medical equipment that your baby may need. These might include:

  • Oxygen
  • Feeding tubes such as naso-gastric tubes (NG-tubes) or gastrostomy tubes (G-tubes)
  • Tracheostomy tube
  • Ventilators
  • Pulse oximetry
  • Suction

Your baby’s medical condition will determine the type of services and or equipment needs for home. Your baby must be medically stable, and you need to be comfortable using, and troubleshooting, their home equipment before being discharged from the hospital.

If your child is going to need a ventilator for home, you will need private duty nursing support. Your insurance company may or may not cover this service. Your case manager will work with you to obtain a waiver through the Division of Specialized Care of Children (DSCC) which is a state-funded grant program to help care for technology-dependent children. DSCC may help with home nursing, care coordination, and home modifications. This program is available to everyone living in Illinois regardless of their income. Other states have similar programs.

When your child is medically stable to go home but more preparations are needed, your baby may go to a transitional care hospital. This may allow more time to find home nursing, complete teaching on how to use home equipment, or finish modifying your home if that’s needed. Transitional care facilities provide nursing support 24 hours a day while you continue to get ready to take your baby home.

There are three local transitional care facilities your baby can go to:

  • Almost Home Kids, Chicago and Naperville
  • LaRabida Children’s Hospital
  • Maryville Children’s Healthcare Center

Insurance must approve the transfer to any of these facilities, and patients are admitted based on bed availability once they are medically stable to be cared for in those centers.

Our NICU team provides families with support and education so that they are skilled and feel confident to take their baby home.

  • Bedside nurses educate parents on tracheostomy care, use of feeding tubes, medication administration and suctioning, just to name a few.
  • Respiratory therapists will train you how to use the home ventilator.
  • The DME company will train you how to use their specific equipment.

We will make sure that you are independent in your child’s medical care before going home. All parents of babies with a tracheostomy and using a ventilator will compete a 24 hour bedside stay to become more confident. We promise you will be ready, and we are here to support you through this transition.