A Hat for the Holidays: Forrest General Hospital NICU Babies Receive Head- and Heart-Warming Gift
Hattiesburg, Miss. (December 19, 2019) Spending baby's first Christmas in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is not the way most parents envision the holidays. At Forrest General Hospital, three employees, Jennifer Courtney, RN; Ashley Beasley, RN; and Renee Pharr, Respiratory Therapist, go out of their way to make the season a little bit brighter for the parents and little warmer for the hospital’s tiniest patients.
"It started with finding the crochet hook," Beasley said. "We were sorting hats, because we get a lot of ladies in the community who make our hats. We were sorting through them to find the ones that would fit the babies we have in our unit."
After finding the crochet hook, the women were inspired to learn how to make Christmas hats and diaper covers themselves. Watching online tutorials, the women began making Christmas hats for the babies who will be spending their first Christmas in the Forrest General Hospital NICU.
"Preemie babies, in general, have a hard time with heat regulation," Courtney said. "They have a hard time keeping their body temperatures up without external sources, like blankets, hats, and things like that. The head of the babies are the biggest body surface they have, and so if you leave that uncovered, it is exposed to the drops in temperature, and the babies can't tolerate being outside isolettes for very long. We can put the hats on their heads, and that keeps them warm enough that parents can hold them for a little while, and they can help maintain their own body temperature."
According to Leigh Ann Leonard, RN, Patient Care Manager of NICU and Pediatrics, the NICU is a very special place where patients, their families, and the hospital staff develop a special bond. “We get very close to our patients and their families. When we can do something fun like this to brighten their day, it really warms our hearts to see their smiles. While we work hard to make sure our patients are getting the best clinic care possible, we also know the value of those personal touches. I’m proud to work with such caring staff, like Jennifer, Ashley and Renee.”
To learn more about Forrest General’s Family Birthplace Center and the family-centered care of the NICU, visit https://www.forresthealth.org/services/womens-childrens/family-birthplace/.
Michelle Leslie, Director
Marketing and Communications Department