New and improved Parent Support Community!
Patient+Family Care is excited to share the launch of our new and improved NICU Parent Support Community. While our previous community was successful and received great reviews, we are always looking for ways to improve our customer experience. We decided to collaborate with many of our previous participants and we asked them what it was that they wish they would have seen included in the community. We also asked what information they would have found to be helpful if it were included in the program to help them feel even more supported while they were in the NICU. Overwhelmingly, participants all said mental health, self care and preparing for discharge.
These participants not only offered up these topic ideas, but they also offered to help create the content so that new participants would truly hear exactly what parents want to hear. The common goal the parents and Patient+Family Care both had in mind was to create a safe community where current NICU families could join and could learn how to not only survive the NICU journey..... but would THRIVE!
What are the benefits of this unique and engaging community?
There are many benefits to our community, and they of course will differ for every individual. However, the basics can be summarized in the graphic below:
We are happy to be offering this engaging community to parents so that they receive education, information, resources and connection all while having access to a NICU nurse who will teach them how to be an advocate for themselves and their child(ren). More importantly, this community will empower parents to become better prepared to know how to anticipate the roller coaster of emotions that typically accompany the NICU experience and will truly normalize the psychosocial side effects that rarely get discussed.
Most people don't think of the NICU as a place to play games and have fun. It's a scary, overwhelming, isolating and high intensity environment. Who would be playing a game when babies are struggling every day and fighting for their best chance at life?
Well, we are thrilled to be showcasing and releasing our latest product that will get parents of NICU babies playing a game! Because we know what a stressful and exhausting experience the NICU is for many families, we know that a little fun can go a LONG way! And why not have fun doing things that are healthy and helpful for a parents' physical and mental health?
We have created a NICU Parent Bingo game, inspired by Postpartum Internationals Postpartum Bingo game, that is designed especially for NICU families and helping them find a way to focus on their self-care during their child's hospitalization. A neonate's health and overall well being can be dramatically improved when their parent's psychosocial and physical health are in harmony, yet typically NICU families have a difficult time prioritizing themselves when their baby is in the hospital.
We encourage neonatal staff to provide families with a BINGO card early on in a NICU admission, and then find ways to provide incentives for when they complete a traditional Bingo or a full card Bingo. Reward families for making themselves a priority and caring for themselves when they likely want to do everything but that.
Purchase the cards and laminate them to use them over and over again with long term families, or provide a single card to families to hang at their baby's bedside if they have a shorter stay. Get creative on how you present rewards, celebrate parents who are able to participate and use the card as an additional teaching tool to remind families what self care is important to focus on.
For this inaugural NICU Mental Health Awareness Week, we are going to give a way two sets of our brand new Bingo cards! Enter into our drawing, and watch social media on Friday to see who wins!
NICU Mental Health Awareness Week
April 15-19, 2019 is NICU Mental Health Awareness Week!
Family members of critically ill patients frequently experience an increased incidence of physical and mental health issues. The NICU is certainly an incredibly stressful time for families, so supporting the physical and emotional health of parents and family members is incredibly important if there is a desire to help improve a parents' physical and psychosocial health.
Patient+Family Care knows and understands how important it is to encourage families to practice self-care during the NICU journey, but also fully acknowledges that the acts of self-care are much easier said than done!
In response to witnessing so many families experiencing postpartum depression, overwhelming stress, post traumatic stress disorder and pure exhaustion during their child's neonatal hospitalization, Patient+Family Care developed a fun, unique and creative way for staff to help encourage families to participate in positive and healthy habits.
NICU Parent Bingo is an easy way for parents to play a friendly game while simultaneously taking care of themselves. We recommend that units provide a reward for parents who complete a traditional bingo run and when they complete their entire card. What better way to provide an incentive for a new mom or dad (or grandparent, sibling, friend, etc.) to focus on their own health so that they can be the healthiest versions of themselves, which in turn will provide a more stable and nurturing environment for their baby to grown and thrive in.
It’s that time of year when you find yourself busy shopping for everyone on your list and wanting to find that PERFECT gift for those who love most!
So what happens when one of your loved ones is spending the holidays in the NICU with a baby this year?
You want to get them something that is meaningful yet helpful, but have absolutely NO idea what to buy families that have a child in the NICU.
Below is a list of suggested gift ideas for you that will surely help make the holidays memorable and special for NICU parents ~
Books are educational, easy to travel with and can bring support and encouragement to parents of premature/ill babies. We have a list of books we recommend.
1. Preemie Parents: 26 ways to grow with your premature baby
2. A parent’s guide to surviving the NICU
3. The Preemie Parent’s Survival Guide
4. Living Miracles: Stories of hope from parents of premature babies
5. Preemie Parents: Recovering from baby’s premature birth
6. Once Upon A Preemie
7. Intensive Parenting: Surviving the emotional journey of the NICU
8. Care Coordination in the NICU: Implementing Family Centered Nursing Care for Optimal Outcomes
1. Breastfeeding arm pillow
2. “Woombie” swaddler
3. Kangaroo Care wrap
4. Nighty Night Nursing Light
5. The Littlest Peanut: A baby book for premature babies
6. Wubbanub pacifier friend
7. Preemie Clothing (Jacquie's Preemie Pride, Preemie Store, Perfectly Preemie)
8. Bath apron (*this website is not in English)
9. DocAtot portable bed
1. Massage appointments so they can get away and relax
2. Gas cards to help with their travel to and from the hospital
3. Gift cards to the hospital cafeteria/deli
4. Gift cards to local restaurants
5. Delivered meals to their home
6. Pay for a cleaning company to come in and clean their home
7. Give a certificate to watch other children they may have
For several years I was a family support specialist in a level III NICU and spent countless hours planning, preparing for and hosting parent hours and family events. I had read the abundant research that was available stating how important peer-to-peer support was for NICU families and I wanted to ensure that our unit was offering plenty of opportunities for families to connect with one another, especially once we had transitioned to a a single room unit design. I understood quite well that the long term physical and mental health outcomes of the neonates we were caring for relied heavily on the mental health of the parents while they were in our care during the NICU journey.
Yet despite careful planning and doing all I could to make accommodations to ensure the majority of families could attend, we had terribly low attendance to every event we offered. I would find myself getting so frustrated and so many times I wanted to give up. Why continue to go to so much trouble of planning and hosting events when no one would show up?
Well, instead of giving up....... I realized I had to just get creative!