Evaluating Our Programs
In evaluations completed by more than 250 participants in the Instructors of Infant Massage Certification and Deepening Interactions with Families and Their Children with Special Needs programs in 2002, more than 99% of participants rated the trainings "Excellent" in "effectiveness and relevance" to their work.
- "I would recommend this training for anyone working to benefit babies and families" ...Early Intervention Specialist. Many others said the same: "All Head Start workers need this training." ...Head Start Teacher. "Anyone working in pediatrics could learn much from this training. It will enhance my practice." ...Pediatrician. "This training should be part of every nursing school’s curriculum" ...Family Nurse Practitioner.
- "Touch Communication is undervalued in our society. I look forward to changing that, for the good of future generations." ...Clinical Psychologist.
- "I have seen 'presence' in others, and known that is where healing comes from, but I had not seen someone teach presence before, as Kalena does. Thanks to her gentle, respectful way and the quiet, mindful, kindness that grew and lived in our workshop space, created by all of us, I slowly began to feel 'filled up.' I found my own sense of presence and that I could connect with others from there. I learned the 'how' of taking in sadness, and giving out love. Thank you." ...Occupational Therapist and Marriage/Family Counselor
- "This training was an excellent integration of infant massage, communication, and nurturing. I work in a clinical setting and sometimes lose sight of 'the big picture,' the importance of helping babies and their families form good relationships. I’ve found new meaning in my work." ...NICU Nurse
- "Great for the care giver’s soul!" ...Outreach Nurse, Teen Pregnancy Program
Tracking Outcomes: Child Family Services, Easter Seals, the Blind Babies Foundation, Alta Bates-Summit Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery, and other organizations have sent staff members to HFL trainings, or sponsored programs, and affirm that HFL’s trainings provide significant benefit to the children and families they serve. This year HFL plans to track how Touch Communication effects the emotional, relational, and physical development of babies, parent-child attachment and attunement, and parents’ confidence levels, in the families cared for by HFL-trained Early Intervention Specialists.
Compassionate Beginnings™ in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (formerly known as Compassionate Touch), a partnership with Alta Bates-Summit Medical Center. NICU staff and home care providers were trained by HFL in 2001, and more than 160 infants received compassionate touch sessions during the nine-month program. Parents who learned Compassionate Beginnings™ in the NICU infant massage/touch communication, continued the practice with their babies at home, and seemed confident caring for their babies, outreach workers reported. One staff person said, "The twins I see who had only two sessions of Compassionate Beginnings™ in the NICU are doing remarkably well. Their parents are very comfortable providing their care. Even a little exposure to Compassionate Beginnings™ made a huge difference."
Physical changes were not the focus of the project, but a few physical measures were tracked and reported. In 82% of sessions, babies were assessed as calmer after receiving Compassionate Beginnings™, based on observing behavioral stress markers such as flailing, grimacing, and high heart rate. In 90% of sessions, babies on oxygen needed less oxygen and had less respiratory distress after sessions.
Staff completed surveys two months after completing the AFHFL training and in the early stages of applying Compassionate Beginnings™ to their work. Staff responses were, according to an Alta Bates NICU report, "encouraging and enlightening." Representative comments include:
- "Watching parents communicate their love to their babies and the babies respond contentedly to their massage is very moving."
- "Now, I almost always initiate a ‘touch’ discussion in my work. I am able to give caregivers ‘permission’ to touch, and assure them that touch is not only ok, but essential."
- "I am more mindful as I approach my little patients. I do my work with more care in my heart."
- "Compassionate Beginnings™ gives parents ‘permission’ to show their love in an overt way in a very scary environment.”
- "The program provides additional strategies we can offer parents in comforting and getting to know their babies in the transition period from NICU to home."
- "When I am calm my babies seem to do better. As a result of the Compassionate Beginnings™ program, I aim toward being peaceful and kind.”
- "Compassionate Beginnings™ has improved my teaching skills and has allowed me to be more creative by individualizing for the diversity of families we serve."
- "As a result of parents practicing what they have learned, they ‘light up’ and have a feeling of competence, of falling in love and forming attachment, with a sense of knowing how to touch their infant."
HFL is launching programs with additional NICU partners in 2003 and plans to track outcomes on emotional, relational, and physical levels in these projects.