NICU Families to Reunite with Caregivers at Virtua Voorhees HospitalFor the employees of the McNabb Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Virtua Voorhees, the only thing more rewarding than helping a baby grow strong enough to go home with its family is to see that child again—years later—healthy, strong and full of life. Which is why Virtua hosts a hugely popular NICU Reunion every two years. Virtua anticipates 1,000 or more individuals will attend this carnival-like celebration, which includes face painting, rides, and refreshments.
“Seeing a vibrant, energetic child who you remember holding as a one- or two-pound baby is incredibly gratifying. Having hundreds of them gather together on one day is wonderful beyond words,” says Denise Prickett, assistant nurse manager. “The families appreciate the reunion, but the nurses and other staff members enjoy the opportunity to reconnect just as much.”
“The NICU Reunion demonstrates to our current NICU parents that there is reason for hope. It is difficult and emotional to have their baby remain in the hospital for weeks, often months; seeing these smiling families is proof that there are happy days ahead,” says Terri Angradi, NICU nursing director.
Erika Perez vividly remembers the 91 days her daughter, Camila, spent in the NICU. Erika delivered 29 weeks into her pregnancy (doctors typically consider 40 weeks as the standard length of a pregnancy) and Camila weighed less than three pounds.
Erika says, “The NICU Reunion is a family reunion. When your baby is in the NICU for three months, the doctors, nurses, and staff become family. They didn’t just take care of our daughter, they looked after us too. They celebrated her triumphs with us, and counseled and consoled us on the difficult days. Without them, our vibrant, amazing 3½ year-old wouldn't be here.”
September 25, 2018