NICU Standard 7: 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 180 square feet (16.7 square meters) of clear floor area. 
  • An outside window is not required (see Standard 27 for further specifics).
  • The requirement for wireless monitor and communication devices shall be identical to that described for isolation rooms (Standard 9).
  • Each room shall be designed to allow visual and speech privacy for the infant and family, including for skin-to-skin care, breastfeeding, and pumping.
  • Family space shall be designated and 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. A sleep surface for a second parent, bathroom, shower, and lockable storage for parents should be provided whenever possible.

While sleep space for two parents is recommended, if that sleep space is part of the infant’s room, parents may not always experience good quality sleep due to noise and staff activity. Since parents are already at risk of mental health issues related to their infant’s hospitalization, protecting the quality of their sleep is important. Consider separating the infant space from the parent sleep space if possible, and/or providing additional hosteling space elsewhere on campus for parents. The goal of providing sleep space for parents is to remove barriers to their participation and to facilitate attachment, but that should not be done at the expense of their wellbeing. Parents should feel invited to stay, not compelled to stay.

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.

←Previous     Next→