NICU Redesigned with Families in Mind

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 4, 2016

As families step off the elevator and enter the newly redesigned Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), they walk through a welcoming open space with natural light and views of the outdoors.

Comforting and family-centered Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)

Comforting and family-centered Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)

Creating a comforting and family-centered environment is important in a unit that cares for premature infants, says Dr. Terri Gorman, a neonatologist and Co-Medical Director of the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, which cares for approximately 3,000 premature and sick infants and their families each year.

“Having a premature baby that needs special medical care can be stressful, and many of the parents who enter the NICU are first-time parents,” says Dr. Gorman, which is one of the reasons why the new facility offers a more open and welcoming environment for families and their babies.

After greeting a friendly unit coordinator at the front desk, families can walk from their baby’s room to the family lounge area or to the outdoor patio. With no restrictions on visitation, family members can also sleepover on the pull-out sofa in their infant’s room, and mothers can breastfeed in privacy and store milk in their room’s private refrigerator. Families can even attend daily rounds with the medical staff, if they want. Read More »

A NICU Homecoming – Twins Return to Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 8, 2015

Twin sisters Alex (left) and Justine Bryar haven't strayed far from their BWH birthplace.

In July 1987, twin sisters Justine and Alexandra Bryar were born at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) at 25 weeks gestation, each weighing only three pounds. For months, their parents visited the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) daily to be with their newborn girls. BWH became a home away from home for nearly the entire first year of their lives.

“There was a little family that formed around us,” said Justine, referring to the physicians and nurses who not only provided life-saving care, but also comforted the family throughout their journey.

Despite their struggles at birth, Justine and Alex grew into healthy young women. Now, years later, they have both rejoined the Brigham family in new ways – Justine as an assistant director for BWH Development and Alex as a primary care medical assistant at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital. Alex dreams of becoming a nurse and working in the NICU someday.

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Former NICU Patient and Volunteer Inspired to Become a Nurse

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 3, 2013

Former NICU patient Elizabeth Orsini, pictured at her high school graduation, is ready to attend nursing school this fall.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Orsini’s ties to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) began at birth.

In 1995, Lizzy and her twin brother were born prematurely at BWH, at just 30.5 weeks. Her brother did not survive, and Lizzy struggled in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) for six weeks. Her parents remained with Lizzy in the NICU, holding her skin-to-skin on their chests, a practice known as “kangaroo care,” for 10 hours a day until she grew strong enough to go home.

Now, 18 years later, Lizzy, who has been a dedicated volunteer in the NICU throughout high school, is preparing to begin a new chapter in her life as a nursing student at Fitchburg State University in the fall.

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