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NICU Family Education & Information

This section of our website is designed to provide NICU families with information they may find useful during and after their child’s/children’s stay in the NICU at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. Much of the content is developed by the Family Advisory Council – a group of parents who had babies in the NICU just like you. Today, they volunteer their time to try to help improve the NICU for families. They meet monthly to discuss ideas and are always looking for recent graduate parents to share their experiences and suggestions.

To learn more, please contact:

Eileen Steffen
NICU Quality & Research Coordinator

Hayley Hirschmann
FAC Coordinator

NICU Family Handbook

NICU Family Handbook

This handbook was created to help orient you to the NICU and the hospital. There was nothing like this for us when our babies were here and we felt that this information could help parents understand some of the NICU experience better and faster.

Download Handbook (3.40 MB PDF)

NICU Family Resource Center

Often, the period following the birth of a premature infant can be a stressful time for parents that brings with it many unique questions and concerns. To help, Saint Barnabas Medical Center offers a Family Resource Center within its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

The NICU Family Resource Center at Saint Barnabas provides an inviting, comfortable space where parents and families with babies in the NICU can relax, reflect and access current, high-quality resources in support of their health information needs.

The idea came from the hospital’s Family Advisory Council, a concerned group of volunteer parents who had children in the Saint Barnabas NICU. Their hope it to use their firsthand knowledge to helps future NICU families. Funding was provided, in part, by The Livingston Sunrise Rotary and Saint Barnabas Medical Center Community Advocates.

“Nothing makes having a baby in the NICU easy,” said Hayley Hirschmann, coordinator of the Family Advisory Council, whose own daughter was delivered three months prematurely and spent 96 days in NICU at Saint Barnabas. “But, we’re trying to make it a little easier by sharing our experiences.”

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit NICU Family Resource Center

The Center’s design includes three separate areas for NICU parents, family members and other visitors. A Family Resource Library has books and pamphlets on many NICU issues like prematurity and breastfeeding and is equipped with computers and wireless internet access. A Family Lounge offers a relaxation space with a television and comfortable seating. The Family Room, which is separated from the lounge by a sliding wall, has many uses including a site for parent education classes and family trainings or a place to eat.

“Many of our NICU babies need to remain in the hospital to receive special care for weeks and months,” explains Eileen Steffen, R.N., NICU quality and research coordinator and co-coordinator of the Family Advisory Council. “The Center provides a place to help support families during the initial adjustment and when they come to the hospital to spend time with their baby.

Ms. Hirschmann says that parents use the areas for all sorts of things. It gives families a comfortable place to wait while their NICU baby is in surgery, working parents an opportunity to check emails and older children a space to do homework. The Center also has lockers to keep personal items in while families spend time with their baby in the NICU.