From Aimee White’s perspective, volunteering to support the $3.1 million OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) fundraising campaign was a no-brainer. As the parent of an infant who required intensive care, the Riverside Methodist Development Board member has a unique vantage point.
Aimee says that things started unremarkably for her family when she went into labor with her second child. However, a few hours after birth, the medical team noticed that the child’s sucking and swallowing were weak and recommended NICU care.
While the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital is equipped with state-of-the art technology and staffed with top-tier medical professionals, creature comforts are few and far between. Stationed beside incubators are rocking chairs for parents, but Aimee longed for a sense of privacy that many families need as they work through the process of welcoming a child who needs extra care. When given the opportunity to help with the NICU campaign, Aimee says, “It was something I wanted to do from the moment it came up.”
The vision for the campaign is to provide families with more space, privacy and the opportunity for an extended stay while their infants are in intensive care; a place with walls for the isolated comfort of offering skin-to-skin care; and a safer place for emotional struggle and grieving.
The plans call for 26 new single family rooms and eight doubles that will be appropriate for twins and triplets. The demand for space is reflected in national data — research indicates that 17% of NICU admissions are from multiple births, with 51% of twins and 91% of triplets born preterm. In the new space, families will be able to sleep close to their babies. There will also be a family gathering place with a kitchenette and an office space.
In addition to the new spaces, a $500,000 patient care and family support fund will bolster current services, providing a comfortable, supportive experience for families during their most vulnerable moments.