(Washington, DC, April 2, 2011) – The March of Dimes today announced that it has partnered with Georgetown University Hospital to implement NICU Family Support® for families of premature or critically ill newborns. March of Dimes NICU Family Support provides information and comfort to families of premature babies and other critically ill newborns being cared for in a neonatal (newborn) intensive care unit (NICU).
“The March of Dimes is delighted to partner with Georgetown to help families during what should be a time a joy that can be instead a time of crisis,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “Families don’t expect anything to go wrong, but about 1 in 10 newborns need the medical expertise of a NICU because they may have been born premature or with a birth defect. NICU Family Support is there to make the partnership between families, babies, and medical personnel stronger to benefit all involved.”
“We are excited to be a March of Dimes NICU Family Support site and are proud of this collaborative effort to support parents throughout their stay with us,” said Siva Subramanian, MD, chief of Neonatology, Georgetown University Hospital. “This is a wonderful opportunity to work with graduate NICU parents and staff to develop programs specific to the needs of our families.” Georgetown’s NICU has begun with creating a parent support group, sibling classes, art activities, photography and other programs as part of NICU Family Support.
Incorporating NICU families into every level of the program, March of Dimes NICU Family Support addresses the needs of families throughout hospitalization, during the transition home, and in the event of a newborn death. NICU Family Support also includes a professional development component to enhance sensitive communications between staff and parents and overall family-centered practice. The program is led by a hospital staff person who has professional NICU experience. The Georgetown NICU Parent Advisory Board is made up of graduate NICU parents and NICU professionals who are involved in selecting activities and providing direct services to current NICU families. Each NICU family receives a March of Dimes Parent Care Kit including informational books and materials to record their baby’s difficult days and days of celebration.
The NICU at Georgetown University Hospital is a 44-bed, tertiary care center for the Washington Metropolitan area’s sickest and smallest newborns. Georgetown’s NICU has the most advanced technologies available, including inhaled nitric oxide, Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), which provides heart and lung support for critically ill infants, and high-frequency ventilation to treat term or premature infants with severe respiratory failure. Georgetown University Hospital's NICU was one of the first in the region to offer whole body cooling to prevent brain damage in premature infants. In addition to “high-tech” treatments, the NICU staff of physicians and Magnet nurses is committed to a “high-touch” approach. “Kangaroo Care,” highly encouraged at the Georgetown NICU, is a technique that encourages parents to hold their infants as soon as possible and has been found to help babies gain weight and recover more quickly. Georgetown’s NICU is home to the most advanced neonatal transport service in the region—capable of transporting critically ill infants 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by land or by air.
The program is an important component of the March of Dimes efforts to help all babies—those born healthy and those who need help to survive and thrive.
March of Dimes NICU Family Support is now available in more than 100 NICU’s in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. More than 80,000 families will have access to the information and support activities offered through the March of Dimes NICU Family Support annually.
“The March of Dimes is proud to partner with Georgetown University Hospital through NICU Family Support because of its reputation for excellence and the quality care it provides to babies,” said Dr. Howse. “Georgetown University Hospital does incredible work every day to care for sick babies and their families. We want to support their efforts.”
Georgetown University Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute care teaching and research hospital with 609 beds located in Northwest Washington, D.C. Founded in the Jesuit principle of cura personalis—caring for the whole person—Georgetown is committed to offering a variety of innovative diagnostic and treatment options within a trusting and compassionate environment.
Georgetown’s centers of excellence include cancer, neurosciences, gastroenterology, transplant and vascular diseases. Along with Magnet nurses, internationally recognized physicians, advanced research and cutting-edge technologies, Georgetown’s healthcare professionals have a reputation of medical excellence and leadership. Georgetown University Hospital is a proud member of MedStar Health.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, 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.com or Nacersano.org.
Georgetown University Hospital Media Contact:
Patient Contact: 202-342-2400
March of Dimes:
Shannon Gilbert | 703-824-0111 (ext 11) | Email: SGilbert@marchofdimes.com
Nate Brown | Phone: 703-824-0111 (ext 16) | Email: NBrown@marchofdimes.com