MemorialCare Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach will be introducing a new program called the Neonatal Continued Care Program at the Cherese Mari Laulhere Children's Village to provide additional support and resources to parents and their babies who have recently been discharged from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
This bridge program is designed to help ease the transition home from the hospital for both the neonate and their family, while still receiving care from a familiar team. The Neonatal Continued Care Program will be for babies who no longer need to be in the hospital but continue to require specialized care and attention.
"We noticed there was a need and an opportunity to provide additional care and support to our NICU families once they've been discharged," says Candace Cam, RN, nurse practitioner, Outpatient Specialty Center, MemorialCare Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach. "When a family is discharged from the hospital, they tend to have this feeling that they are on their own, and that there is no more support like when they're in the hospital.”
The Neonatal Continued Care Program will alleviate these isolating feelings and fear by scheduling your first appointment before discharge and having the same clinical team that cared for the neonate in the hospital continue to follow that same NICU graduate when they enter the outpatient program. Providing familiarity instills trust into the specialized care the family has already come to know to put them at ease and help open the communication and dialogue, so families are comfortable addressing any concerns once they’ve left the safety net of the hospital.
“Before the NICU graduate is discharged from the hospital, we will work with their parents to schedule an appointment to see us in the Neonatal Continued Care Program within at least two weeks of their discharge date,” says Cam. “By scheduling the appointment before discharge helps instill a sense of reassurance that you and your baby are still being cared for by your NICU care team and will be seeing them again soon.”
The Neonatal Continued Care Program care team will include neonatologists, occupational therapists, registered dieticians, pediatric nurse practitioners, physical therapists, lactation consultants, and social workers.
The team will collaborate with the baby’s pediatrician and subspecialists to provide all-inclusive care and improved communication between providers – the team will send extensive reports to other providers to help them stay informed on their clinical developments.
“It is important to note that your pediatrician is your primary medical provider for your baby's health,” says Cam. “The Neonatal Continued Care Program will fully transition management to your pediatrician once you feel confident in your skills to care for your baby. But until then, we are here to support the family and the pediatricians during the journey. We know it takes a village to care for a child and we are here to provide you with the support you need.”