The more informed and engaged you are, the more involved you will be with your baby’s care in the NICU. You are your baby’s primary advocate. Here are some suggestions to enable you to be the best advocate for your baby.
First, begin to keep a daily journal. Each day write down the members of your baby’s care team and their schedules. Learn all that you can about your baby’s daily health status, daily goals of care and treatment plans. Usually in the morning your care team will “huddle” by your baby’s isolate to discuss the goals of care for that day. Ask if you can participate in that important meeting. If you are a part of the huddle – write down the daily plan. If you are not, always ask your baby’s primary nurse for each shift what is the care plan for the day. Some questions to ask everyday:
- How is my baby today?
- Are there any changes in the care plan – if so, why?
- What tests or procedures is my baby having today? Why are they necessary – what are the risks involved? Does the risk outweigh the benefit of any given test or procedure?
- Is my baby’s care plan being coordinated with all team members especially during shift changes and transition moments when my baby’s care is handed off to another nurse, physician or other care team member? Don’t make the mistake of assuming important information about your baby is always being relayed among your care team – you always need to double-check.
- When can I hold, feed, bathe and diaper my baby?
- When can I nurse my baby?
- Record in your journal your own observations about the daily changes you can see in your baby.
What other tips can readers suggest for a daily checklist?