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"Services" for NICU families

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Someone mentioned, in the thread about supported parents with bubs in the NICU at Christmas, that their NICU had a volunteer tea and coffee trolley that came around (daily??) and I was wondering what other "services" were on offer at your hospital?

I wanted to start something like that for the NICU where Erin was as there was very little for parents while we were there. I'd thought maybe a craft day once a month or something, but maybe something more practical would be better?
post #2 of 11
That's a great idea! Our NICU really didn't do much. However, one volunteer service we had that I thought was very handy was that older women (grandmothers) would volunteer to come to the hospital and hold babies so the moms could take a little break. I thought that was nice so you could leave and still know that someone was there giving a human touch to your little one.
post #3 of 11
The NICU my dd was in has a family advisory board made up of parents of former preemies that does a lot for the NICU familes. We host a meal at the NICU every month or so and try to provide a special holiday meal during Christmas and Thanksgiving. For preemies that stay longer then two weeks a meal is sent home with the family the day they leave so that they won't have to cook when they get home. Scrapbooking materials are provided so that parents can make a NICU memory album if they want too. The nurses are really good about taking pictures of the babies so that the parents have plenty of photos. One of the night nurses would take pictures and make them into keepsakes for the parents. I have snowman and reindeer ornaments that she made with Lilly's picture on them.
post #4 of 11
Our NICU had the coffee/tea service. It was 2x a week and any other time someone doanted it. The 2x per week was a regular "gift" from community organizations.

The hospital itself donated the holiday meals they served.

Holiday gifts were donated mostly by a big biker toy drive (ABATE Toy Run for Tots) held in Nov/Dec every year for all of the kids in our CH. I think any overflow toys go to other community organizations/hospitals in the area.

The March of Dimes local chapter started doing a weekly scrapbooking class for the NICU parents. That was stated just as we began to get geared up to go home so I could never make the class but the pages they made were great and the parents really enjoyed getting together for an hour or two outside of the NICU.

A scrapbooking class is a wonderful idea!
post #5 of 11
Our NICU had a great parents room that was run by Ronald McDonald house and open almost everyday except some Sundays. It had free food and drinks for all NICU parents and their guests, including fresh fruit, cereals, and things to make sandwiches. It was wonderful as it saved us a ton of money on eating out while Randall was in the NICU. I probably ate at least 2 meals a day there. They also had free computers to use with internet access and a quiet area where you could meditate. It was really good to go there if you just needed a break from the NICU but did not want to leave the hospital or if they were doing a test or procedure and you needed to get out of the way for a little bit.
post #6 of 11
Our NICU had a little Friday afternoon cookie cart. There was a nice playroom for siblings. There were donated clothes, hats, isolette covers, etc. I honestly wish there was more!

They used to have a breakfast buffet for NICU parents, but somehow the labor and delivery nurses were sending dad's to this buffet and it was getting so picked over, the hospital gave up.

What would you all think about having a good photographer available to do photos of NICU families from time to time?
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
There's a group of photographers who do that in Australia. A friend of mine, who's daughter died in the NICU has the most gorgeous photos. You contact the charity (can't remember what it's called) and they arrange for a photographer to come out, I don't know if you get prints but you get all your photos on a DVD that you're able to print out. It's all paid for by the photographer.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
What about a magazine library? I already take up books for parents to read to their babies, but reading fairy tales over and over is a bit boring. Would any of you guys have liked magazines and/or puzzle books that you could do while sitting with your bub?
post #9 of 11
The nurses used to bring magazines for us to look at and it always made the day go by a little faster. There is also a library of preemie books that parents can check out and read. There wasn't any modern ones when I was there, so I donated the ones I bought to read.
post #10 of 11
The organization of photographers that does photos for families dealing with pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or death of a baby is Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. That's where I got the idea of photos in the NICU. But I would like to see that available also to families with babies who will survive their NICU experience, kwim?

My husband is a good photographer and so we have beautiful pictures from our two experiences in the NICU, but not everyone has the right equipment or skill to get good pictures. He's thought about doing the training to become a volunteer with NILMDTS, but also using those skills to bless families with surviving babies in the NICU.

I just found out our NICU has a parent advisory committee and I'm going to join.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
The charity I'm talking about is the Australian community of childhood photographers. They do all that you mentioned but also NICU (surviving babies) photos. You're right. I know a few families who were lucky to have many really nice photos of their babies time in hospital. Good on your husband for sharing his talent.
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