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Important: COVID-19 Testing, Booster, & Visitor Policy

Life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

May 21, 2020
Life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at GBMC HealthCare has become very different since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic started. Each year, GBMC’s NICU helps more than 400 babies who are born too small, too sick, or too soon. Some are born so sick they can't eat or breathe on their own and require constant, specialized care. Often times, these babies are a long-awaited gift – one that is not normally celebrated through virtual visits.

Now, more than ever, families of infants in the NICU are facing greater hardships and emotional struggles. Currently, parents are only allowed to visit one at a time, making it difficult for one parent to support the other while visiting their baby. “The admission of an infant to the NICU is a traumatic experience in and of itself for parents and families without the added stress of a global pandemic,” explained Emily Smith, LMSW, a social worker in GBMC’s NICU. Parents are not only having to cope with the emotional hardships of having an infant in the NICU but now they cannot be together with their child as a family.

The staff in the NICU have taken on new roles to ensure they are providing expert care their tiniest patients and to support parents’ emotional health. In addition to caregiver, they have taken on the roles of family, friends, and companions. “We have been given the privilege to support families during their journey in ways that normally those closest to them would be doing,” Emily explained.

When asked how she feels about these changes, Emily expressed, “Although the COVID-19 pandemic has raised some fear and uncertainty, I am so proud of our families for their resilience and for trusting us to care for their babies and sharing these special moments with us.”

You can help GBMC’s NICU and their tiniest patients by participating in the 32nd Annual Virtual Father’s Day 5K and 1-Mile Fun Walk. We are encouraging our community to sign up for either distance and participate from your favorite running spot. Feel free to invite friends and family to join you in registering! All proceeds from this virtual event benefit the NICU.
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