The one-of-a-kind artwork is part of an ongoing initiative by specially trained nurses and other NICU providers to help make life a little more normal for the parents of severely premature infants.
By Casandra Andrews
Staff members in USA Health’s level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) spent time this week creating holiday keepsakes for the parents and caregivers of the tiniest patients at Children’s & Women’s Hospital. There were photos with Santa and even arts and crafts sessions.
A favorite among parents and staff are cards decorated with what look like tiny mice created by gently pressing a baby’s foot onto thick paper.
The one-of-a-kind artwork is part of an ongoing initiative by specially trained nurses and other NICU providers to help make life a little more normal for the parents of severely premature infants. The holidays can be a stressful time to have a child in the hospital, so NICU residents and their parents are included in a variety of activities to make the season brighter.
You’ve heard of an ugly sweater party? Our parents gather to decorate holiday onesies for their little ones.
These events can ease anxiety during a challenging time, said Courtney Thomson, RNC-NIC, BSN, a nurse and parent educator in the NICU: “It helps to make the holidays a little less stressful and allows them to do a fun activity and create a keepsake for their little one.”
More than 1,000 premature infants “graduate” from the NICU at Children’s & Women’s Hospital each year. The level III NICU offers the highest level of care for premature infants in the region and features a small baby unit, where babies born before 28 weeks' gestation are cared for.
The NICU, and small baby unit staff are comprised of a multidisciplinary team of highly trained neonatologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, lactation consultants and pharmacists who have undergone advanced education.
Both units also offer an exceptional team of social workers and nurses trained as parent educators who help with everything from dealing with the challenges of having an infant in the NICU to home health needs and specialized follow-up care.