Parents have very mixed feelings when their baby is in the newborn intensive care unit (also called NICU). They may be happy to welcome their baby, but also worried and overwhelmed about what may happen. March of Dimes helps moms and families through every stage of pregnancy and throughout the NICU journey. When a baby needs NICU care, the NICU Family Support® program is there to empower, educate and support their families.
NICU Family Support® helps more than 50,000 families each year in more than 65 hospital partner sites by increasing families’ knowledge and confidence to care for their baby. The program seeks to improve the long-term health outcome of NICU graduates by focusing on improving the families’ NICU experience. Our services are built around three main areas: education for NICU families, education for hospital staff and resources to improve the patient and family experience.
Education for NICU families:
Providing education and information to families is one of the most meaningful ways to engage them in creating a positive experience while they are in the NICU. NICU Family Support® provides multiple ways for families to receive critical information before, during and after a hospital stay. Our materials are reviewed and enhanced with updated content and NICU family stories annually.
Education for NICU staff:
NICU Family Support® is committed to increasing the knowledge of NICU staff by providing on-going educational opportunities. Web-based, on-demand, presentations from the March of Dimes Training Institute are provided. Through the Training Institute, NICU staff receive tools to work effectively with families and each other. Click here to learn more about the March of Dimes Training Institute.
Improving Patient and Family Experience
Partnering with hospitals to improve the patient and family experience is at the heart of NICU Family Support® programming. We collaborate with NICUs in a variety of ways to continually improve the experience for patients and families in the NICU. NICU Family Support® sites host activities and events each month, such as dinners or holiday events, to help families form supportive relationships and bond with their baby. These events and activities are a key component to improving satisfaction throughout the NICU journey.
March of Dimes ensures the quality of the NICU Family Support program by tracking and reporting on how the program contributes to the experience of families in the NICU. Each NICU Family Support® site submits data monthly. Analyzing trends in real-time provides the opportunity for the development of new resources to meet the evolving needs of hospitals and families.
Our intent is that the powerful impact of this program will last far into the future, and families will know that they are supported when they needed it most. To learn more about March of Dimes NICU Family Support® Program or for additional support resources, visit marchofdimes.org/nicufamilysupport.
If your hospital does not have a NICU Family Support® program, you can still access NICU Family Support® parent education through the My NICU Baby® app. To learn more visit: mynicubaby.org.