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Feel Better with Firelands - Spring 2018

Firelands Regional Medical Center brings you stories of inspiration, innovation, and empowerment in its Feel Better with Firelands magazine.

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{ 8 } H L E A N D N D A The Healing Power of Hugs Hugging Helpers Volunteers “ There is more power in a hug than in a thousand meaningful words.” – Holly Myers, DNP, RN, CNE Firelands School of Nursing At some point in your life, you have felt the power of a hug during a tough time. There’s something so comforting about feeling someone’s arms wrapped around you, letting you know that things will be ok. That is what one volunteer program at Firelands is striving to do for babies born in the Center for Women & Newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). NAS is when the baby is getting an addictive substance, such as opioids, from the mom and is going through withdrawal after birth. Holly Myers, DNP, RN, CNE, faculty with the Firelands School of Nursing, was going through a doctorate program in which she had to develop a program that would make an impact for the community. She previously worked in the OB department at Firelands Regional Medical Center for a number of years and knew that the number of babies born addicted to opioids was on the rise. In 2017, there were 25 babies that were born addicted to opioids in the Center for Women & Newborns at Firelands, compared to 15 babies in 2016. That is when Holly decided to develop the Hugging Helpers volunteer program, working with Anne McGookey, director of volunteer services, and Amanda Charlton, charge nurse for the Center for Women & Newborns. According to Holly, these babies need more care than most babies born in the Center for Women & Newborns. They are going through withdrawal, often have a highpitched cry, are very fussy, and their bodies are stiff. Evidence-based practices show that best care for these babies include rocking, swaddling, and shushing. In addition, these babies require a longer stay in the newborn nursery. In Ohio, the average length of stay for these types of babies is roughly 14–20 days, dependent on the baby’s symptoms. For babies not born addicted to opioids, the average stay is 2–3 days. “We have people that want to hold babies and babies that need to be held,” Holly said, stating that we provided extensive training for all of the Hugging Helpers that included not only how to care for these babies but also how to communicate with the parents and families. “We all want to be held when we don’t feel good,” Anne said of why this program is important for the babies. Ginny Browne of Vermilion is one of the Hugging Helpers. She became involved when her niece, Sarah Henkel, director of safety & security at Firelands and also a Hugging Helpers volunteer, told her about the program. “I love babies,” Ginny said. “I love snuggling babies, too. This was right up my alley.” “I couldn’t imagine babies at their most vulnerable not having someone to snuggle with,” Sarah said of why she got involved, “especially if that baby is struggling with withdrawal or in pain.” The program has also expanded to the pediatric department at Firelands. If there is a young child whose parents or caregiver are unavailable, a Hugging Helpers volunteer is called in, providing another layer of care for the smallest patients here at Firelands. “I was called in for a baby that had RSV,” Ginny said. “I read the baby a story and we snuggled.” “There is more power in a hug than in a thousand meaningful words,” Holly said. “I am grateful that Firelands has supported my passion in caring for the most vulnerable members of our community.”

{ 9 } H L E A N D N D A “ We want this year to touch everyone, whether 9 minutes old or 99 years old.” – Bill Semans, Bicentennial Commission Chairman Hand-knitted Booties for our Bicentennial Babies This year, the City of Sandusky is celebrating its Bicentennial – 200 years of rich history which has shaped the city into the cultural and recreational destination it is today. To help commemorate this historical moment, the City of Sandusky has partnered with Firelands Regional Medical Center to provide every baby born in the Center for Women & Newborns with a pair of hand-knitted baby booties. “The goal for the City of Sandusky’s Bicentennial year is to promote unity, Sandusky Pride, celebrate the past and build momentum for the next 200 years,” shared Bill Semans, bicentennial commission chairman. “We want this year to touch everyone, whether 9 minutes old or 99 years old. It’s a very special opportunity to partner with the city’s largest employer and celebrate every baby born at Firelands in 2018.” The booties are knitted by a group of volunteers through the hospital’s Hands & Hearts from Home program. “Our talented and generous volunteers are enjoying this new project knowing their contribution is historical in nature,” Anne McGookey, director of volunteer services at Firelands, said. “We welcome any area community member who would like to donate baby booties to feel free to contribute to the cause.” Each pair of booties is packaged in a commemorative box with a notecard welcoming the Bicentennial Baby into the world. And as of February 15, 96 pairs of booties had been distributed in the Center for Women & Newborns. “This is a great way to honor these babies who are being born during such an exciting time in the city’s history,” said Alexandria Cruey, marketing manager at Firelands. “We are so happy to be a part of such a heartwarming project to provide the babies with a keepsake item that can be cherished for years to come.” Anyone who is interested in donating booties or their time to help knit the booties can contact Anne at: 419-557-7460. Kaitlyn Gildenmeister & Makaeh