NICU Standard 17: Family Support Space

Space shall be provided in or immediately adjacent to the NICU for the following functions: family lounge area, lockable storage, telephone(s), and toilet facilities. Separate, dedicated rooms shall also be provided for lactation support and consultation in or immediately adjacent to the NICU. A family library or education area shall be provided within the hospital. Access to the Internet and educational materials shall be provided via a computer station in the family lounge or at the infant’s bedside.


Family Lounge Area: This should include comfortable and moveable seating and tables, as well as a play area stocked with entertainment materials for children. A nourishment area should also be considered. External windows or skylights are desirable whenever possible.

Lockable Storage: Secure storage for personal items should be provided at each infant space.

Lactation Support: Comfortable seating, a handwashing sink, and a means of communication to the NICU should be provided.

Family Education Area: This should include publications, audiovisual resources, and Internet access so that families can learn about health conditions, child development, parenting issues, and parent-to-parent support. This area might also include space and supplies to learn about and practice caregiving techniques.

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