Family room at the NICU? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-30-2008, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The NICU at the hospital where our sons were born is expanding - the pediatrics unit has moved and the NICU is taking over those rooms, including a playroom that was for patients and siblings. The plan is to reconfigure this room to work better for NICU families, both parents and children.

The playroom was furnished by our local NFL team about 10 years ago. We happen to live next door to one of that team's current coaches and down the street from their community relations manager. We're thinking about approaching the football team to see if they would be interested in adopting the playroom again.

Or alternatively, we might approach some of the big employers in the area to ask about adopting the space.

If you were given the opportunity to design a family room in the NICU, what would you want?
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:04 AM
 
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Chairs in small clusters so you could sit and talk with your guests without people sitting beside you because there's no where else to sit.
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:11 PM
 
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I don't know how much space you have, but the Family Area in my NICU is really, really nice. There is a living room like area with a tv, couches, phone, and toys for children. There is a dining room and kitchen combination so that familie can cook meals there and eat together. There is a small private room with a tv for pumping, a bathroom with a shower, and a small room with a washer and dryer. That was a huge help because I could bathe and do laundry without having to leave the NICU.

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Old 12-31-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sbrinton View Post
If you were given the opportunity to design a family room in the NICU, what would you want?

Close parking for family that is no additional charge. We always say when we are in the means, we are donating a family parking lot to the Nicu and Picu. We will call it Maggie's lot.

Dream Family room:

large room like 50 ft by 75 ft. It will have a blocked off family bathroom for those who also have tots etc. A smaller room with an area of pumping supplies, reading material etc. At least 1/2 dozen stations.

a larger play area w train table, craft area, riding toys etc.

a small kitchen area w fridge, microwave, healthty snacks etc.

One thing I would do- have a time limit for how long you can use things. Otherwise, small tots would be there for hours and they should not be. I noticed some families would stay in the waiting room for hours and hours and it was not good for the baby's family.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by felix23 View Post
I don't know how much space you have, but the Family Area in my NICU is really, really nice. There is a living room like area with a tv, couches, phone, and toys for children. There is a dining room and kitchen combination so that familie can cook meals there and eat together. There is a small private room with a tv for pumping, a bathroom with a shower, and a small room with a washer and dryer. That was a huge help because I could bathe and do laundry without having to leave the NICU.
That sounds nice! But for the NICU my dd was in, it would have to be much larger. Her NICU had something like 53 beds with "space" to squeeze in another dozen in an emergency. Even if only 1/4 of those families utilized the family roon at any point, that's a minimum of 13 people using the room.

Keep in mind that the Ronald McDonald house is also usually an option for meal preparation and showers, naps, and laundry areas were available upon request & need in our hospital. Those areas were not simply NICU areas but available to all of the parents with kids hospitalized there.
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:11 PM
 
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The NICU we're in has 60 beds. 30 are private rooms, and 30 are "pinwheel" rooms. There are a number of family areas within the unit. There are 2 kitchens, 4 bathrooms with showers, at least 4 lactation rooms that lock and have a comfy chair, a pump, and a sink and microwave to clean parts, at least 4 family bathrooms, 4 sleep rooms with queen size beds that families in pinwheel rooms can reserve for the night, 2 private family rooms with pull-out couches that families can reserve for the night, and a quiet lounge with chairs, couches, and a computer with internet access.
One kitchen has a couch and a couple of comfy chairs and a TV/DVD player, a refrigerator/freezer and microwave, one of those coffee makers that does a cup from a little coffee packet (and a zillion different packets/flavors), 2 tables and chairs, a sink, a dishwasher, and a computer with internet access. The other kitchen is the same, but doesn't have the TV area and has a washer/dryer instead. Each kitchen also always has saltines and graham crackers, peanut butter, and sometimes fresh fruit and juice boxes.
We are in a private room, so I am able to sleep in the room with DD (there is a pull-out couch in our room), but I use the kitchen every day, I use the refrigerator and freezer so that I don't have to eat in the cafeteria or go out for meals, I use the shower every day, I use the washer and dryer just about every day...
I think the biggest thing to remember is that, at least from what I've seen, a lot of the people who have babies in the NICU don't take care of things... it seems like maybe they don't have nice things at home, so they're not used to taking care of nice things. So I wouldn't go overboard with nice toys or things like that, because chances are they would be ruined very quickly. The kitchens here are always dirty...
And while the Ronald McDonald house is an option for many with kids in the NICU, there is also a distance requirement to qualify. For the RMD house here, you have to live 60 miles away... we live 58 miles away. And a lot of the time, the RMD house is full... So it is definitely nice to have some amenities available at the hospital, and especially within the NICU itself. I love the fact that I don't have to leave the NICU for any reason unless I want to.

doula, wife to Dave ribbonyellow.gif, mom to Noah (5/14/06) superhero.gifand Faith (11/13/08) ribbonlime.gif (Gastroschisis Awareness) 127 days in the NICU, and 6 weeks thousands of miles from home, because of gastroschisis.  Expecting #3 2ndtri.gif July 2011! computergeek2.gif www.frugallynatural.org
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think there is a RMD house near our NICU, but the majority of the rooms are private and set up for parents to room in.

The rooms used to each have their own fridge, but now the fridges are only for breastmilk. I think the hospital is working on getting a second set of fridges for the parents to use.

The NICU is attached to the Antepartum unit (really nice if you have a high-risk pregnancy followed by a NICU stay), so there are several spaces that could be used - although honeslty these spaces were almost always empty. Parents tend to stay in their rooms, except for families who have young siblings who often use the playroom. I think it would be nice to encourage more interaction between families.

I've been asked to join the parent advisory council, so hopefully I can actually help some good changes happen.
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