How our NICU bedside program is different from all the rest
The NICU Journey Bead Program is a family support based program, which serves as a connection between parents, their baby, and their healthcare team. It’s the ONLY NICU specific bead program and the first of it’s kind where the focus is on the celebration of milestones, growth progression, and the parent experience.
We realize that no two journeys are alike, and no two babies’ are the same. When creating our program, we kept this in mind and decided to take the focus off of medical milestones and put our efforts into the celebration of the baby, their growth, and parenting in the NICU.
All too often the medical aspects of the journey over shine some of the developmental aspects. As healthcare professionals, we get caught up in numbers, statistics, volumes, growth charts, medications, conditions, and procedures, and we often overlook some of the emotional and developmental things that are just as important.
Especially to the parents.
Parents are often overwhelmed and full of fear of the unknown. They are thrown into NICU and expected to not only live in this medical world, but parent here too. Parenting a baby isn’t supposed to be this way. As parents, we are supposed to rejoice and celebrate our babies. It is supposed to be a happy time, a major chapter in our book of life, but when prematurity and the NICU are involved, all of this changes. With this change comes a change in how parents view their children, how they parent their kids, and how they live day to day. What follows? These parents become medical caretakers of their babies, sometimes living in fear and wondering when the next shoe is going to drop.
Because the NICU has molded them this way. The normal parenting aspects have been lost or buried by the mounds of medical information they have had to live, eat, and breathe each and every day.
Our bedside journey bead program hopes to change this. We have created a standardized, consistent, and focused program that will help both parents and professionals. With the proper education, parenting in the NICU can change. Empowering parents with information that will not only help them understand their preemie, but also help them to learn what they can do so their baby will thrive beyond the NICU days.
Our program takes the focus off of some of the more medical aspects and puts the focus back on the baby and the parent’s relationship with their baby. It helps by giving parents an opportunity to celebrate their baby all while understanding their needs as they grow and develop in the NICU.
We celebrate things like first diaper changes, first bath, kangaroo care, and we leave the medical aspects such as apnea, respiratory support, and central lines to the baby’s healthcare team. We found that refocusing on these important parenting aspects not only relieves some of the fear, but it normalizes some of the experience and in turn helps parents cope better, have less anxiety, less fear, and feel more confident.
The NICU journey Bead Bedside Program focuses on family-centered care, the healing environment, protected sleep, minimizing pain and stress, preemie language, skin care, positioning, development and the senses, feeding progression, and the journey to home. Each aspect of the journey is explained with a bead and story card, with information specific to parenting a preemie. It gives parent’s something tangible to celebrate the journey while offering a timeline and a countdown to home.
What do you think parents want to remember the most about their NICU experience? The numbers, volumes, and statistics they have been groomed to focus on? Or the special moments they create as they learn to understand, connect with, and celebrate their baby?
We need to erase the medical footprints we leave in the minds of parents and replace them with special memories that leave lasting imprints on their hearts.
To learn more about the NICU Journey Bead Bedside Program, please fill out this form.