Monday, September 14, 2009

NICU Staff Experiences "Preemie for a Day"

Imagine being wrapped into blankets, poked and positioned while noise thunders around you.

For many pre-term infants, that's an everyday reality. In order to help health care workers understand that environment, one innovative program has volunteer staff pretend to be infants, where their co-workers use tape, pacifiers and other tools to mimic a neonatal intensive care unit environment.

Philips Children's Medical Ventures (PChMV) conducted "Preemie for a Day" workshops for Sinai Hospital NICU staff today. The program included an overview of developmental care, but also had interactive compenents, such as staff members pretending to be a group of quintuplets admitted to the unit.

Many of the "quints" commented on how overwhelming every aspect seemed.

"It all moved so quickly," said Jenna Bishop, an occupational therapist and one of the volunteers. She is pictured above with Michelle Jenkins, RN, and Itta Steiner, RN.

Another activity had nurses Lia Coombs, RN, and Janice Woolen, RN, wrap up Michelle Block, RN, pictured below. Leaders from PChMV lead discussions on how staff can better help preemies.

The goal of the workshops is to help babies be calmer, quieter and more comfortable during their hospital stay - and go home quickly to mom and dad.

For more information about Sinai Hospital's NICU, call 410-601-WELL (9355).


yamile said...

In my opinion, if you conduct "preemie for a day" you need to get the staff out of their cozy environment (womb) and take them in a place they don't recognize with sounds, light, environment totally foreign (hospital) where they are scared to death, and far away from their loved ones (mother) and they feel alone. And if they allow the loved ones to be close, (mom's visit) don't let them touch them. If they are touched, then poke them and hurt them, and get foreign things on their throats and needles and tubes every time you touch them.

Although the workshop may be beneficial in terms of positioning, you will never be able to simulate what a preemie really goes through.

Chris said...

As a mother of a former preemie, I had some of the same thoughts. Pacifiers and tape are simple items used in interventions, what about breathing tubes and iv's and blood draws? But I also have to commend the staff for at least trying to understand some of what a preemie endures.