Ridgewood, New Jersey, February 14, 2018 – Parents of infants being cared for in The Valley Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) were treated to a special in-hospital date night for Valentine’s Day, courtesy of Valley’s NICU Family Support Program and the NICU Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC).
Having a child in the NICU is overwhelming and often parents are uncertain what is next for their little ones. Spending holidays with a baby in the hospital is particularly difficult. The NICU PFAC wanted to provide Valley’s NICU parents with the opportunity to enjoy a lovely and delicious Valentine’s Day.
“Our NICU parents become our family while they are in the neonatal intensive care unit, so we wanted to provide them with a Valentine’s Day celebration while being directly across the hall from their baby,” says Suzanne Bryjak, MA RN BSN HN-BC, NICU Family Support Specialist. “Thanks to our Family Support Program we were able to make this holiday special for our parents.”
Parents were invited to their complimentary dinner dates with formal invitations that were distributed while parents were visiting their baby in the NICU.
The Valley Hospital NICU Discharge Lounge was transitioned into a Valentine’s Day Lounge “private restaurant” decked out in red and pink, complete with candles, red roses, and heart shaped candies.
NICU parents enjoyed a candlelit dinner provided by Parkwood Deli with background music playing to set the mood. To make the holiday extra special, the menu included heart shaped raviolis and a sweetheart cake.
“The Valentine's Day dinner was such a great experience,” said parent Linda Valentin. “It was a great way to meet other parents to share our stories. It was also a great way to spend time as couples."
The NICU Family Support Program was developed to build a community that brings together current and past NICU families who can assist in navigating the NICU journey for families. This program provides information, guidance, support and comfort during NICU hospitalization, on the transition home, and for years to come.
The mission of the NICU Family Support Program is to integrate patient and family principles and practices into the care to ensure quality care that is truly responsive to patient and family needs, priorities, goals and values, and to educate health care professionals and staff on the patient and family’s care experience.