Forrest General Hospital To Recognize Neonatal Intensive Care Month with Reunion
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – (September 1, 2022) Caring for the tiniest and most vulnerable patients born at Forrest General Hospital is the job of dedicated nurses, nurses, and staff in our Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. To celebrate these NICU graduates and their families, and honor healthcare professionals, a NICU Reunion will be held October 1 at the Hattiesburg Zoo. During September, we will observe Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month to honor families experiencing a stay in the NICU and the health professionals who care for them.
Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month is one of the nation’s youngest observances. Still a youngster itself, it wasn’t until 2014 that the non-profit, Project Sweet Peas, and other parent organizations, established this month in an effort to build a community committed to increasing awareness of the challenges faced in the NICU and to expand resources to NICU’s nationwide. Through coordinated efforts and personal experiences, these volunteers have become passionate about providing support to families of premature or sick infants and to those who have been affected by pregnancy and infant loss.
Forrest General’s NICU consists of 23 beds, divided between an intensive care unit, intermediate care nursery, and isolation room for critically ill infants. The NICU is supported by four neonatologists, two nurse practitioners, and highly-skilled nurses, respiratory therapists and acute and advanced care techs trained in neonatal care.
The FGH NICU is one of only a few in the nation to offer "family-centered care," which means that parents can stay with their child at all times during their NICU stay. Each NICU bed is also equipped with a webcam so parents can stay connected with their newborns. The secure service is free to NICU families and can be accessed through a username and password. It also provides a way for loved ones who are too small or too far away to see your newest little addition.
Forrest General monitors NICU graduates for two years through the Neonatal Follow-up Clinic — another part of the hospital’s comprehensive care provided to premature infants. Forrest General is the only hospital in Mississippi to offer the Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP), a partnership with The University of Southern Mississippi's Institute for Disability Studies.
On September 15, Forrest General will celebrate Neonatal Nurses Day, which honors their contributions to the most fragile patients and make a difference that lasts a lifetime for neonates and their families.
September 30 is NICU Awareness Day and you are encouraged to wear green to show your support.
From 5-8 p.m. on October 1, in the Zoo’s Africa exhibit, NICU “graduates” and their families are invited to join other families from across the Pine Belt. Here, they will have the opportunity to reconnect with former doctors and other NICU staff who became like a second family to them. This event is a partnership of Forrest General Hospital’s Women and Children’s Services and Southern Mississippi Neonatology. Those planning on attending this event should register by calling 601-288-3440.