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Tacoma General NICU to offer new family support program

Posted on Nov. 17, 2015 ( comments)

MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital has launched a March of Dimes NICU Family Support® program, which is built on a family-centered care philosophy, the hospital and March of Dimes announced today.

Parents with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) will receive information, comfort and support to help them cope with this emotional experience through this new partnership between March of Dimes and Tacoma General. This announcement is especially relevant as World Prematurity Day on November 17 draws global attention to the needs of babies born sick or too soon.

“The NICU Family Support program is a wonderful opportunity for our NICU to enhance the extraordinary care we already provide,” said Dr. Serena Scott, medical director of the Tacoma General Level IV NICU. “The program increases parents’ confidence and gives NICU staff the tools they need to support families and babies. Through our partnership with the March of Dimes NICU Family Support program, we can help these families and empower parents in new and important ways.”

This new NICU Family Support® collaboration represents a joint investment from MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital and March of Dimes and deepens our partnership to support families and staff in the NICU.

Through the program, parents with a baby in the NICU have access to high-quality educational materials both in print, online and in person through educational classes on infant nutrition, preparing to go home and the benefits of skin-to-skin holding (“kangaroo care”). These materials and classes are designed just for NICU families and explain the role of staff, equipment and procedures they may encounter in the NICU. Additionally, through the online Share Your Story website, families can get support from other families going through similar experiences.

“Many babies are admitted to a NICU because they are born too soon, too small, with a birth defect or other medical condition," said March of Dimes State Director of Program Services Gina Legaz. "The NICU experience can be confusing and traumatic for families, who must adjust to the uncertainty that a sick baby brings. March of Dimes NICU Family Support provides information and comfort to families in the NICU, and we are thrilled that Tacoma General Hospital has partnered with us on this program."

When families are preparing for a new baby, no one expects anything to go wrong. But every year approximately 1 in 12 newborns in Washington are admitted to a NICU because they are born too soon, too small or with a birth defect. The community can participate and help raise awareness of the critical issue of preterm birth throughout the month of November, which is Prematurity Awareness Month, and on World Prematurity Day on November 17 by following, posting and sharing on social media at www.facebook.com/worldprematurityday.

The March of Dimes NICU Family Support® program has more than 10 years of experience providing information and comfort to families while their babies are hospitalized and during the transition home. The program is available at more than 130 hospitals nationwide. More information about the NICU Family Support® program can be found on the March of Dimes website.

About 4 million babies are born in the United States each year, and the March of Dimes has helped each and every one through research, advocacy, education, vaccines and community support programs.

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, Share Your Story with other families looking for community.

Posted in: News Release | Tacoma
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