Although modern medicine has saved and extended the lives of many infants born prematurely or with medical conditions, some families still face a life-limiting injury or illness. At Children's Hospital Colorado, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) palliative care team can help reduce the physical, mental and moral distress you and your baby might feel if your baby is facing a serious medical condition.
What is the Neonatal Palliative Care Program?
Our newborn palliative care team provides emotional, spiritual and physical support to babies and families faced with a life-limiting or life-ending diagnosis. We help your family create memories, spend time together as a family, navigate complex decisions and set goals for your time in the NICU.
No matter your baby’s diagnosis, you can count on our experienced team to provide you with love, support and a personalized plan to help you have the experiences you want as a family. We support and guide you from before birth through every step of your medical journey. We are available to help every member of your family, including siblings and extended family members who are with you during your time with us.
Our NICU's serenity suite allows you to spend quality time with your baby in a home-like environment. We also provide several opportunities for you to make mementos and memories while you are together in the NICU.
What should you expect from neonatal palliative care?
Here, you will receive care and support from one of the most experienced neonatal palliative care teams in the country. We are a diverse team with the training, knowledge and experience to provide you with a compassionate and personalized experience.
Our care team supports your family with an individualized plan that may include:
Choosing a primary nurse care team before delivery that will stay with you throughout your NICU stay, which allows you to have a more personal relationship and for our neonatal nurses to fully understand your family and your goals
Delivery planning meetings and consultations before delivery to identify goals prior to your admission to the NICU
NICU serenity suite, which is a specialized patient room that features a queen-size bed, artwork, a privacy screen and comfortable furniture where your family can spend quality time together in a home-like environment
Extensive memory-making opportunities including heartbeat bears (before or after birth), finger- or toe-print jewelry, photography, hand and foot molds and many more
Use of specialized equipment that maintains a baby’s body after death, allowing families to spend additional time with their babies after death
Unfortunately, some families we care for face a condition for which there is no hope for a long life. Giving birth in other hospitals or birth centers can be very hard on these families as they are among families with healthy babies. We provide those who need it with a private environment and comforting, individualized care from experts who are trained in caring for families with a life-ending diagnosis.
We typically provide bereavement care in a couple ways:
For families in our Colorado Fetal Care Center, we explain delivery options based on their diagnosis and create a care plan. Families who continue their pregnancy deliver their baby in our Labor and Delivery Unit. We provide them comfort care, support and memory-making opportunities.
When babies are born needing serious medical care for a life-ending diagnosis they go to our NICU or Cardiac Intensive Care Unit where they receive care to ease symptoms. Our bereavement and palliative care specialists help families through this sensitive time.
Who we treat in our Neonatal Palliative Care Program
Primarily, we provide care for babies and families facing a life-limiting condition. Different from hospice care, palliative care is not exclusive to those with a terminal diagnosis. We provide palliative care to anyone who needs help with the symptoms and stress related to a baby’s illness or injury.
Why choose Children’s Colorado for neonatal palliative care
We care for more babies than any NICU in the Rocky Mountain region and we are regularly recognized as one of the best NICUs in the country. As a Level IV NICU, we regularly care for the most critically ill infants. This means we have vast experience caring for babies with serious illnesses and addressing their family’s emotional and spiritual needs.
We understand that caring for your baby’s medical needs is only one part of your family’s well-being, especially during a difficult time. Our team of neonatal palliative care experts will help address all your family’s concerns and create an individualized care plan.
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Children's Hospital Colorado providers
Children’s Hospital Colorado providers are faculty members of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Our specialists are nationally ranked and globally recognized for delivering the best possible care in pediatrics.
Some healthcare professionals listed on our website have medical privileges to practice at Children’s Hospital Colorado, but they are community providers. They schedule and bill separately for their services, and are not employees of the Hospital.