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Peace In Our Hands™

Healthy Family Living's™
dove logo is formed by three human hands, representing that our programs are about relationships expressing the
Peace In Our Hands™

Compassionate Touch in the NICU program
by Kalena Babeshoff, Director

Adapted from original feature
Advance for Nurses, 2004

HFL contributes to the successful implementation of Family-Centered and Developmental Care with Compassionate Touch in the NICU program at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.

Healthy Family Living™ (HFL) has developed an innovative and unique program Compassionate Touch™ in the NICU (CT). The developmentally sensitive and family centered program is currently being implemented within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (ABSMC) in Berkeley, California.

HFL staff continues providing mentoring, consultation and in-depth training for ABSMC staff to become Compassionate Touch™ Instructors with the parents and families that they serve within the hospital environment. The Compassionate Touch™ approach teaches parents and caregivers to support their baby's health by encouraging them to interpret and attune to their individual baby's cues, and behavior thus reducing stress reactivity. As they do so, they adapt their approach in expressing CT to fulfill the infants basic needs for nurturing touch, comfort and loving, secure relationships through learning ways of responding in gentle, developmentally appropriate ways.

As a significant way to deepen commitment to family-centered care, Compassionate Touch™ (CT) assures the needs of both infants and family members are sensitively addressed. Through practicing purposeful presence at the crib side, in a way that is attuned and developmentally appropriate with the baby(s) this awareness strengthens the bond from which families learn to cultivate and form their relationship attachment and nurturing parenting skills. Moreover, parents and caregivers who are under physiological, mental and emotional stress, build feelings of competence and confidence in providing direct care in the NICU setting.

To further influence the culture and family centered care environment day-long in-services are provided to educate and empower nurses, PT's and others professionals and volunteers in the NICU setting. This education provides ways to bring CT into their care as well as research and understanding of the relationship-based approach. Touch, in all of its positive forms, is an antidote to the challenges that staff, families and infants may feel in their journey through the high-tech environment of a NICU.

ABSMC's NICU staff, trained by HFL, encourage and facilitate the continuation of the CT approach in the home, to serve in the adjustment the family makes after discharge and to enhance the quality of life through continuing responsive touch communication and massage.

Kalena Babeshoff, Director of HFL is working closely with Gail Baillergeau, Grants Officer at ABSF and Alison Brooks, CNS at ABSMC for the program's further development and implementation at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. They presented their work in the fall of 2004 at the 20th annual national conference - Developmental Interventions in Neonatal Care Conference. With the intention to bring this evidence-based program, Compassionate Touch™ in the NICU/ICN nation wide, we are available for consultations, in-services and training adapted to meet the various NICU/ICN's settings and needs. Click here for more information.

We welcome your contact for more information. Thank you.

-Adapted from an original feature in Advance for Nurses, 2004

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