WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY

A Slice of AnnyWorld:

It all started when Will decided to make his grand entrance exceedingly early–three months before his due date. 

Having not waited until he was fully ‘cooked,’ meant Will had to spend five months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A harrowing experience for Will, but maybe even more so for his parents, Brittany and Scott. (Around 60% of parents whose babies have long NICU stays  are at risk for Post-Traumatic Stress.) Well-meaning caregivers focused on Will’s survival, but didn’t have time to educate his parents on what was happening, or how to handle a fragile preemie, so often Britt and Scott were left out of their son’s care altogether. 

As the months dragged on, Britt imagined a world where parents were an equal and active member of their baby’s health care team.  She and Scott shared her idea with docs, nurses, caseworkers, parents, everyone involved in the NICU process to see what they’d have to do to turn Britt’s dream into a reality.  What they discovered was that there was a name for what they wanted to bring into the NICU: Family Integrated Care. 

Turns out FICare had been around a while.  A pilot program at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto revealed a simple truth: babies/children not only survived more often, but thrived when health care became a family affair. To make Family Integrated Care a reality in her backyard, the Bay Area , she and Scott founded Will’s Way Foundation.

Right now Will’s Way devotes money and energy to supporting families with babies in the NICU. As Britt put it: “We try to give parents one moment to feel normal.”  Will’s Way accomplishes that by providing “milestone meals” to parents, such as when a baby reaches a goal weight, or gets off oxygen, dinner at a local restaurant to get them out of the hospital, and in one case, threw a wedding dinner for a couple who got married while their baby was still in the NICU.

The foundation also addresses basic needs of NICU parents, such as giving gas cards to lessen the expense of their commutes, grocery cards to help them feed their families, and support for the siblings of the sick babies.

And there’s more on the horizon such as using technology to teach parents what they need to know in order to actively care for their baby in the NICU and beyond.
Currently Will’s Way helps about 6 NICU families per week.

Will’s Way’s mission is to make FICare the norm in the NICU first, and then hopefully the paradigm for all hospital patients.

Want to change your world?  Britt’s advice is to “share your idea with others.  Allow your idea to change and become what it needs to be, then own it and continue to grow it.  There are a lot of ideas out there.  The key is to see it through.”

Using their imaginations and will, Britt and Scott are changing the NICU experience for the parents that have come after them.

“Imagine a world where….” finish the sentence and share your idea, and what you will, or are doing to make that word a reality with all of us on my FB page, or reply to this post.
#EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges

Purple Passion of the Fortnight: A diaper cake.

Purple Passion of the Fortnight: A diaper cake.

Destination of the Fortnight: One of my favorite museums is in Will's backyard, The Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA

Destination of the Fortnight: One of my favorite museums is in Will’s backyard, The Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA

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Posted in Imagination, Inspired Creativity, Thinking Outside The Box, Uncategorized by with 1 comment.

Comments

  • It was great to hear about this program, and I have shared it on my blog, MikeandOllie. My twins, Isaac and Molly, were born at 24 3/7 weeks and also spent five months on the NICU. They are now 23 and doing great. We didn’t know anything about FICare back then, but our NICU (the Infant Special Care Unit) at Evanston Hospital did a great job of helping us feel like part of the care team. A lot has changed in the care of preemies since my twins were born, but I remember each day in the NICU as if it were yesterday. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, and those highs and lows stick with you. Best of luck to Will’s Way Foundation. I’ve shared the information on my blog.

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