"A hug can be so much more than a heartwarming cuddle - it can stabilize heart rates, increase oxygen levels and strengthen a baby's immune system," says Sara Young, general manager of the Huggies Brand. "These programs support nurses who work tirelessly to care for high-risk NICU babies and give them the assurance that their precious patients are in good hands."
A total of 18 hospitals have received grants from Huggies since 2016. The two hospitals receiving grants today include:
- Nationwide Children's Hospital - Columbus, OH: Funds from the No Baby Unhugged grant will enhance its existing hugging program and expansion efforts, supporting extensive education and training for current and future NICU volunteers.
- Phoenix Children's Hospital - Phoenix, AZ: Grant funds will add 10 volunteers to their current team of 14, including proper training, allowing babies to be held for longer time periods. In addition, funds will be used to purchase three hospital-grade rocking chairs for the new NICU.
"Nationwide Children's Hospital serves over 1.4 million patients a year and volunteers help extend our ability to individually care for each and every patient," says Kim Cummin, RD, LD, MBA, volunteer program manager at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "Our NICU 'hugging' volunteers make a significant impact on the ability to provide human interaction for our youngest patients and support our staff in extending high-quality service to families."
Kristin Niehoff, clinical manager of the NICU at Phoenix Children's Hospital, adds: "The No Baby Unhugged grant benefits the more than 1300 babies throughout Arizona and the Southwest that are cared for in our newborn intensive care nursery. Our hugging program allows us to have properly trained volunteers who can help alleviate the anxiety parents face when they have a newborn baby that requires intensive care."