Tips for Helping Families Spending Time in The NICU/PICU

By: Kathy Trainor

I am offering a word of advice and would welcome more ideas on a serious topic.  About 5 years ago I had a lovely little baby boy, Patrick. He was rushed away from me so fast I never got to hold him.  You see Patrick was born early and was found to have breathing, feeding, and development concerns.   He was so severe he had to go to the PICU  (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit). I remember the time being a blur of beeping monitors and people running past you and saying each day things should get better.   I also remember it as a time when no one was around about because the PICU or NICU doesn’t allow may visitors for health and safety of the child.  

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 8.43.59 AMThe NICU/PICU is no place any family thinks they will be. And it’s no place you ever want to be. However, if you end up there you will find other parents to connect with who have walked through those doors with their child. 

You have that bond, no matter what. I was texted or called to ask what they could do to help. I have found a few things that did help us and may help others. 

If you find out a friend, neighbor, coworker or relative has a child in the NICU/PICU you can help in the following ways:

1. Set up money with the hospital for parking

2. Set up money at the hospital for meals

3. A small zip lock bag of personal items like deodorant , tooth paste, feminine products, or personal care items 

4. If allowed- a meal to be dropped off at home or hospital

5. Positive thoughts

6. A gift card to a local pharmacy or super market 

7. Gas cards for travel

8. Gift cards to local sub shops or fast food places


10. Babysitting for other children

I know I missed a few, but know this is a lonely and stressful time. It moves so fast and so slow at the same time, it’s hard to manage.  Advice is not often welcomed and don’t get mad if they don’t get back to you … Just wait… and be there when they are ready. Their thoughts are focused only on getting home and holding the child of their dreams. 

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