NICU Family Support®

Parents have very mixed feelings when their baby is in the neonatal intensive care unit (also called NICU). They may be happy to welcome their baby, but also worried and overwhelmed about what may happen.

Increasing families’ knowledge and confidence to care for their baby

NICU Family Support®

When a baby needs NICU care, the NICU Family Support® program is there to empower, educate and support their families.

March of Dimes helps moms and families through every stage of pregnancy and throughout the NICU journey.

NICU Family Support® helps more than 50,000 families each year in more than 70 hospital partner sites. 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: educating NICU families, educating hospital staff and improving the NICU experience.

Even so, the best laid plans don’t always turn out as we hoped, and many babies will spend their earliest days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) due to a preterm birth, birth defects, surgical or genetic conditions, or other diagnosis. For them, March of Dimes’ NICU Initiatives offer multiple ways to access the support and education they need to help improve the patient experience.

Parents in NICU

All families deserve the best possible start.

Even so, the best laid plans don’t always turn out as we hoped, and many babies will spend their earliest days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) due to a preterm birth, birth defects, surgical or genetic conditions, or other diagnosis. For them, March of Dimes’ NICU Initiatives offer multiple ways to access the support and education they need to help improve the patient experience.

Partnering together

Our intent is that the powerful impact of this program will last far into the future, and families will know that with you, March of Dimes supported them when they needed it most. For more information on how your hospital can partner with March of Dimes through the NICU Family Support program, contact us.

 

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.

NICU Family Support Program Coordinator Rachel Balck

About our programs

NICU Family Support® (NFS): Classic and Virtual Models
NICU Family Support is the premiere program for NICUs, offering family education, training for healthcare professionals on family-centered care and an improved patient experience with the support of March of Dimes experts.

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. 

Print resources include “The NICU Journey” and “In the NICU for a Shorter Stay” booklets and an evaluated parent education curriculum of 7 topics. Resources are reviewed annually for medical accuracy and health literacy standards.

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, which include free CNEs. Additionally, NICU Grand Rounds and Leading Practice Workshops are provided on current NICU trends (CNEs not available). Through these offerings, NICU staff receive tools to work effectively with families and each other.

Quality improvement consulting on unit specific goals to impact patient experience and family-centered care, including annual Patient Experience Projects and connection to the network of NICU Family Support partner hospitals. Programs host activities or events each month, such as dinners or holiday events, designed to help parents bond with baby and to form a community on the journey home.

Program impact

Our program impact

We reach more than 50,000 families each year through NICU Initiatives. Hospital partners report high levels of program satisfaction and identify NICU Initiatives as a key contribution to the patient experience.

Additional support resources

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. 

For purchase by hospitals

In the NICU for a Shorter Stay

Topics include answers to common questions about baby's NICU stay, feeding in the NICU, getting ready to take baby home from the NICU, and taking care of baby at home.