Over the years, I have had the opportunity to provide emotional support to many mothers whose babies were admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). As a NICU nurse, I would recite the same comforting words to each mother as she was discharged and forced to leave the hospital without her newborn. It was not until I had to leave my 28-week son, Theo, in the NICU that I fully understood the trauma of being physically separated from him. I was just starting to mentally and physically comprehend that I was no longer pregnant when I was discharged home on his sixth day of life. As I was wheeled through the lobby to go home, I sobbed as I held my empty, tender belly, longing to feel his gentle kicks again. Leaving the hospital without him was the most unnatural, painful, and confusing experience I have ever endured.
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I couldn’t work around sick babies. I don’t know how you do it.” The infamous statement every neonatal professional has heard. Like many NICU nurses, I was called to this field of nursing before having babies of my own. For many years, I dreamed of having a baby; although, the thought of carrying a baby for nine months was terrifying.
It is the goal of all hospitals to make our patients and our communities healthier. As part of that, hospitals must become trusted partners in their patients’ pursuit of health and wellness. This begins with education. And when the patient is a child in the NICU or PICU, education becomes especially important for parents and families. From the moment a child is admitted to the NICU or PICU, parents need to feel as though their providers will go above and beyond to keep them informed and engaged. To achieve this goal, hospitals must design and implement a comprehensive, parent, and
Leveraging education for parents with children in intensive care to improve care plan compliance and enhance key quality initiatives
Millions of children are admitted to intensive care units each year for critical conditions, accidents, or surgeries. Besides the physical pain, the experience can cause emotional trauma as well. The fear, anxiety, and shock can be overwhelming for patients and their families. Often many families struggle with a sense of frustration and helplessness. Studies show that when parents and families are more educated about their child’s health conditions and care plans, they take a more active role in that care.
Millions of people enter the hospital each year for critical conditions, accidents, or surgeries. Besides the physical pain, the experience can cause emotional trauma as well. The fear, anxiety, and shock can be overwhelming. The patient’s family often struggles with a sense of frustration and helplessness. For families of neonates in NICUs, those feelings can be even more profound. Relieving these emotions requires hospitals to have a comprehensive program for educating patients and their families about the patient’s condition and care plan, providing as much detail as possible throughout the entire episode of care. But far too often, that doesn’t
An article published in the Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings stated, “In the context of escalating health care costs and shocking future cost projections, the potential for improved health outcomes through patient education and self-management programs is immense.” At the heart of this idea, according to the authors, is patient engagement. Nowhere is this more true than in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where research indicates parental involvement and communication are key to positive outcomes. And this communication should extend beyond the walls of the hospital and beyond patient discharge. Babies that have been in the NICU have higher rates