A trip to the Neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, is never in a family’s delivery plan. Having a child in the NICU is a stressful experience for families. It interrupts the bonding process and how the parents can relate to their baby. It is important to us to foster trust and relationships with our families, which leads to open communication and decreases anxiety. At Cone Health, our goal is to empower families, building on their strengths and confidence to participate in the decision-making process for their baby.
In the Cone Health NICU, you will have access to your child 24 hours a day, every day. Parents can designate a family member or support person to visit the baby in their absence and siblings ages four and older are encouraged to visit their newborn brother and sister. During cold and flu season (October to April), we limit siblings to those 12 and older to minimize the chance of infection to the newborn and sick infants. Parents are included in multidisciplinary rounds to provide information on their baby’s status and to participate in the medical plan of care for the baby. Our NICU nursing staff partner with parents in helping them bathe, feed, and change their baby’s diaper, and teach them infant CPR so they can feel as independent as possible.
Each year Cone Health’s NICU has a “NICU Reunion” for families to reconnect with NICU multi-disciplinary team members and for our staff to see how former patients have grown. Last year, more than 700 people attended the event. The Family Support Network offers support groups, a lending library, parent mentors, parent luncheons, and educational programs for NICU providing opportunities for NICU parents to connect and encourage one another. Last Year, 143 of our families attended 24 FSN NICU social events.
Juanyetta Beasley is the NICU Department Director at Cone Health Women’s Hospital. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Winston-Salem University in 2003 and her Master’s of Business Administration from American Intercontinental University Online in 2006.