N.C. Children's Hospital named March of Dimes NICU Family Support Project of the Year

The award recognizes excellence in meeting the goals of the NICU Family Support program: supporting NICU families and staff; producing high-quality results; and demonstrating leadership within the chapter, hospital and among NICU Family Support sites.

N.C. Children's Hospital named March of Dimes NICU Family Support Project of the Year click to enlarge NICU family support specialist Tara Bristol, right, accepts the 2010 NICU Family Support Project of the Year award from March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer Howse.

Media Contacts:
Danielle M. Bates, 919-843-9714, dbates@med.unc.edu
Emily Everett, 919-424-2150, eeverett@marchofdimes.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The March of Dimes has named the NICU Family Support® program at North Carolina Children's Hospital the 2010 NICU Family Support Project of the Year. The award recognizes excellence in meeting the goals of the NICU Family Support program: supporting NICU families and staff; producing high-quality results; and demonstrating leadership within the chapter, hospital and among NICU Family Support sites.

“Thousands of families have been through our Newborn Critical Care Center since the March of Dimes chose North Carolina Children's Hospital as the first site in the state to implement NICU Family Support almost four years ago,” said Dr. Alan Stiles, chief physician of N.C. Children’s Hospital. “As a neonatologist, I saw how the program benefited families right from the start, so to learn our program is distinguished among more than 100 similar programs around the country has special meaning to me.”

“The March of Dimes selected North Carolina Children’s Hospital as its partner for NICU Family Support because of its reputation for excellence and the quality care it provides to babies,” said March of Dimes Board Chair Laura Dillard. “We are proud of Tara Bristol and the NICU Family Support team for winning this award for their outstanding performance in providing comfort to families during their babies’ NICU stays at UNC Hospitals.”

NICU Family Support® uses parent-to-parent support to address the unique emotional needs of families of premature babies and other critically ill newborns being cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Guided by former NICU families and led by a March of Dimes staff person who has experience as a NICU parent, the program is built on a family-centered philosophy and addresses the needs of families throughout the hospitalization, during the transition home and in the event of a newborn death. The program also offers a professional development component for caregivers, providing educational opportunities to help them sensitively support families on a daily basis.

Since its launch in September 2007, the NICU Family Support program at N.C. Children’s Hospital demonstrated an extraordinary partnership between the March of Dimes and UNC Hospitals. Out of this relationship have come system-wide changes in family-centered care in the Newborn Critical Care Center, including enhanced parent participation and 24/7 parent presence in the NICU, even at shift change. The award recognizes these advances as well as an innovative video project. The hospital collaborated with a NICU family to develop a transformative video on preventable infections in newborns, the result of which has been a staggering decrease in catheter-associated blood stream infections.

NICU family support specialist Tara Bristol accepted the 2010 NICU Family Support Project of the Year award on behalf of N.C. Children’s Hospital at the recent 24th Annual Gravens Conference on the Physical & Developmental Environment of the High Risk Infant held in Clearwater, Fla.

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