On a typical day there are 25 to 30 premature and/or critically ill infants at Banner – University Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Some of them have been there a few days, while other babies can be there for weeks and even months. The staff nurses wanted to add some color and coziness to a highly technical space with strange beeps and alarms that can be very overwhelming to moms and dads confronted with a critically ill baby. Was there some way to make this intensive care environment more “Baby Happy?”
Referred to the Quail Creek community by a Sahuarita fabric store manager, Jeneane Catlin, RN (an NICU staff member) reached out to the Quail Creek Quilt Covey. The Fabrics Plus branch of the Quilt Covey then contacted Jeneane. The Nursing Staff wondered whether the club members could help make blankets with fabric that the staff had collected. They also requested small four inch fabric swatches for the mother to wear so that it would pick up her scent and be put next to the baby when the mother cannot be near her infant.
Under the leadership of Sue Ann Obremski, with assistance from Deb Migdalski, Sherrie Morris and Susanne Fairman, the fabric swatch was redesigned into an attractive four inch heart, calling it a Comfort Heart. Over five dozen Comfort Hearts were made, along with over 172 assorted sized blankets. The blankets were “serged” or finished with especially soft seams to protect these usually very tiny and often skinny babies. Sizes ranged from 8” by 14” up to 40” square blankets.
Sue Ann also designed and provided the NICU with sample mattress pad covers and sample baby gowns that can accommodate IV tubes, catheters, pulse oximeters and other tubes/leads affixed to the babies. Based on Nursing Staff feedback, needed modifications will be made and these items will also be put into production for the benefit of the NICU babies.
If you have extra baby flannel or baby knit fabrics to donate (solid colors and prints are both welcome), please leave them in a bin on the porch at 531 N. Keyes Road. The Fabrics Plus Club will sew the needed blankets, mattress pad covers and baby gowns to support a more Baby Happy environment.
The state of the art 36 bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Diamond Children’s on the Banner – University Medical Center campus is in Tucson. The NICU provides care for babies from all over Arizona and the surrounding states. It is the only hospital with infant heart surgery capabilities in southern Arizona.