Healthcare Professionals

Bring Family Friendly Support to Your NICU

The Ambassador Program

Hand to Hold’s Ambassador Program offers comprehensive in-hospital support for NICU families. The program is designed to enhance and extend your hospital’s current family support initiatives, and introduce new program options customized to meet the unique needs of your NICU population.

Led by a Hand to Hold Ambassador – a local, trained NICU graduate parent – the program is a cost-effective way to extend the “family-centered care” requirements of today’s NICUs.

Whole Family Support

Peer Bedside Rounding

There is something particularly powerful and healing that happens when you connect with someone who shares a life-altering experience with you. NICU families will tell you this, and research backs it up.

Through the Ambassador Program, hospitals provide their NICU families with essential and powerful peer-to-peer support, recognized by the NPA as a critical part of NICU care. The experienced and trained Ambassadors visit NICU families in the hospital, as well as those in antepartum care who are at risk for a NICU stay.

All Ambassadors are subject to hospital volunteer training, health screenings, vaccinations, and background checks.

NICU Family Support Curriculum

Hand to Hold’s unique support curriculum leads NICU parents through a five-week program of important topics, including:

  • Understanding the emotions of a NICU stay
  • Bonding with your medically fragile baby
  • Nurturing yourself and your baby
  • Effective communication
  • Preparing to go home

Hand to Hold Ambassadors are trained to facilitate these weekly support groups.

Parent Events

Being around other NICU parents can be comforting and healing for NICU families. The Ambassador program provides regular events for parents to connect and celebrate special occasions and holidays throughout the year.

Family Support Bags

NICU families need a little TLC. Hand to Hold Family Support Bags bring some useful goodies and helpful information, all in one handy, reusable bag. Our support bags include items like:

  • Reusable Hand to Hold Bag
  • Navigating the NICU Handbook
  • Resource Folder
  • Pen
  • ChapStick
  • Lotion
  • Nail File

Celebrating Milestones

Milestone Bead Program

Hand to Hold’s Milestone Bead program was designed to help parents celebrate their child’s birth and the milestones of their NICU journey – something often overshadowed by the baby’s medical challenges. Beginning with a stork charm to commemorate the baby’s birth, the beads are used to encourage parent participation in support groups and education programs throughout their baby’s NICU stay.

Contact Contessa for more information about the program or to purchase Milestone Bead packages.

Bedside Decorations

Sometimes the little things matter a lot. NICU families spend an enormous amount of time at the bedside of their baby. The Ambassador Program brings some joy to the space by providing monthly bedside decorations for major events like holidays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and special milestones.

Sibling Support

Sibling Sundaes Support Curriculum

Recognizing a need, Hand to Hold developed a curriculum specifically for siblings of NICU infants, designed with the same eye for emotional support and educational information as our adult programs.

Hand to Hold leads fun educational events for siblings of NICU babies. Siblings learn about the special people caring for their baby brother or sister, the equipment that is helping them grow stronger each day, and the important role they will play as big brother or sister when the baby comes home. Ambassadors are trained to facilitate these ice cream sundae events in conjunction with the NICU staff.

Sibling NICU Tour Video

This fun video is available in English and Spanish and answers common questions siblings have about their baby brother or sister’s NICU stay and eventual homecoming. The tour is led by a NICU graduate who explains what a NICU is and how their sibling is being cared for. It’s a helpful way to prepare a sibling for their first NICU visit, or for those that are unable to enter the NICU because of age or health policies.

Hospital Resources

Print Resources

Hand to Hold’s professionally researched and written resources give families the information they need to care for their children physically, financially, and emotionally. Thoughtful articles make parents feel more capable and informed in the NICU and when they take their baby home.

The Ambassador Program provides Hand to Hold’s expertly written resources to hospitals for distribution to their NICU families. These resources are available in bulk, free of any branding, and in both English and Spanish.

Current Titles
Navigating the NICU Handbook
NICU Graduate Handbook
Finding Balance Between NICU and Home
Siblings Are Special Activity Book
Answering Your Child’s Questions About a Baby in the NICU
I’m Special, Too: Ways to Help Siblings Feel Important
Grieving Together as a Family
Sibling Curriculum
Sibling NICU Tour Video

Hand to Hold resources meet the standards for patient education and engagement of both The Joint Commission and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

NICU Staff Support

Continuing Education for NICU Staff

Giving staff tools and techniques to help them support families who are in crisis can help foster positive and trusting relationships between parents and the professionals caring for their baby. These relationships, and staff sensitivity to families, are crucial building blocks of family-centered care. Hand to Hold provides a variety of staff training and continuing education options that can be customized to meet the needs of your NICU.

Family Advisory Council (FAC)

The dedicated medical professionals of the NICU value the input of their patient-families. A family advisory committee brings together a diverse group of former NICU families and the NICU staff with the goal of making the NICU the best it can be. Hand to Hold’s Ambassador will help create and facilitate a FAC, or will serve on an existing FAC; ensuring the voice of the family is heard and considered.