The holidays can be a difficult time for parents of critically ill newborns. Instead of introducing their little one to family and friends, they are in a hospital room – sometimes far away from their loved ones.
At Saint Francis Medical Center’s Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), parents experienced a little taste of home last month through contributions from the Parents With Hope fund. A Christmas Eve dinner for parents was catered by a local restaurant during this difficult time. The Parents With Hope fund was founded by former Level III NICU parents Jason and Leigh Ann Siener. The fund provides financial assistance to Level III NICU families during a frightening and stressful time.
“Because we are the only Level III NICU between Memphis and St. Louis, some families travel a great distance to be with their babies,” says Cathy Abrams, RN, BSN, MS, director of maternal and child health services at Saint Francis. “Transportation, accommodations and sibling care can be very expensive, and the Parents With Hope fund helps families who need financial assistance.” Since its inception, Parents With Hope has helped more than 450 families and provided more than $110,000 to help offset the costs of transportation and hotel accommodations.
The Christmas Eve dinner brought joy to many families in 2012, and the tradition continued in 2013 through funds from Parents With Hope. The meal was enjoyed in the newly designed Family Room in the Level III NICU, down the hall from the patient rooms. “These parents spend much of their days with a baby they cannot hold very much. They crave connections, and this dinner gives them a special opportunity to celebrate the holidays,” says Abrams.
For more information about Parents With Hope, visit www.sfmc.net/dev-2015 or call the Saint Francis Foundation at 573-331-5133.