For a parent with a child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's Hospital Central California, some of the most difficult times of the day are when they must leave their child’s side in order to grab lunch or take a quick break.
A parent’s fear of being too far from their child is exactly why the NICU teamed up with their parent partner group, Parent to Parent, to furnish and open the new NICU Parent Lounge.
The lounge offers parents various accommodations such as a refrigerator to store food, a computer with internet access and a television and DVD player where parents can watch informational videos.
“This is a place for moms and dads only,” explained Tracy Gong, a member of Parent to Parent.
Gong, whose daughter spent several months in the NICU in 2003, understands all too well the distress of leaving a child’s bedside.
“The point of the lounge is to offer parents a brief second to catch their breath and still be close to their baby,” said Gong.
With a friendly smile and a warm welcome, Gong and other members of Parent to Parent, waved moms and dads into the lounge asking after their children and offering support.
“We’re very excited to provide a place where parents can take much deserved breaks but still be near their children,” said Jennifer Norgaard, NICU Clinical Nurse Specialist.
The lounge serves as a place to help relieve some of the parents’ stress during the time their children are in the NICU and will continue to gain new features and tools as needs grow and change.