If you know a family with a child in the NICU, there are ways that you can help. Parents of a premature or critically ill baby often feel isolated and helpless. They may not have time to eat or sleep or think about anything else. You can help by doing some simple things to ease their burden. Below are some of the ways that you can help.
1. Bring Them Meals or Groceries
Parents of a child in the NICU often do not have time to cook or go to the grocery store. Bring them some healthy meals or snacks that they can easily grab and go. If you know how to cook, offer to make dinner for them one night. Or, you could put together a care package of easy-to-make food items like granola bars, fruit cups, and trail mix.
If you don’t know how to cook, no problem! You can still help by picking up dinner from a nearby restaurant or ordering groceries for them online.
Don’t forget about breakfast and lunch! Often, parents are so focused on their infant in the NICU that they forget to eat themselves. Bring them some breakfast items like muffins or yogurt so they can have something to eat in the morning.
2. Offer to Stay With Their Other Children
If the family has other children, offer to watch them for a few hours so the parents can focus on their child in the NICU. This can be a huge help, as it can be difficult for parents to juggle their time between their hospitalized child and their other children at home.
If you cannot watch the other children, see if there are any other ways you can help out. Maybe you could offer to drive them to school or activities. Or, you could babysit for an hour or two so that the parents can have some time alone together.
3. Patient Engagement Platforms
You can connect the parents with our patient engagement platform as a healthcare provider. This will give them access to their child’s medical records, appointment schedules, and more. They can also use the platform to communicate with you and other care team members. A platform like AngelEye Health provides patient engagement solutions that can be a valuable resource for parents as they navigate their child’s health journey.
4. Listen and Offer a Shoulder to Cry On
Parents of a child in the NICU often feel isolated and alone. They may not feel like they can talk to anyone about what they are going through. Being there to listen and offer a shoulder to cry on can be a huge help.
If you don’t know what to say, that’s okay! Sometimes, just being present is enough. Let the parents know you are there for them and support them. You can often do things like this without saying anything at all. Just being there for them can make a world of difference.
5. Make Calls and Visits to the NICU
If you cannot visit the family in person, you can still help by making calls and visits to the NICU. This can be a great way to stay updated on the child’s condition and offer support to the parents. Seeing a friendly face can make a big difference for parents who feel isolated.
If you live far away or cannot visit often, you can set up a video call with the parents. This way, they can see your face and hear your voice even when you’re not there in person.
6. Help Them with Research
There is a lot of information about the NICU, and it can be overwhelming for parents to try to sort through it all. You can help by doing some research for them. Look up articles, watch videos, and read books about the NICU. Then, you can compile a list of resources that the parents can use. This will help them to feel more prepared and knowledgeable about their child’s condition.
You can also help by staying up-to-date on the latest research about the NICU. If you hear about a new study or treatment option, let the parents know so they can discuss it with their child’s care team.
These are just a few ways to help parents with children in the NICU. If you have a child in the NICU or know someone who does, use these tips to offer support and assistance. Remember, even small gestures can make a big difference for families in this difficult time.