Children's Hospital Colorado

Neonatal Palliative Care Program

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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 alleviate 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.

palliative care room

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 Serenity Suite allows you to spend quality time with your baby in a home-like environment. We also provide a number of opportunities for you to make mementos and memories as a family 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 get to know each other better 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
  • Sibling and family support with child life therapists
  • Use of a CuddleCot, a cooling mattress that maintains a baby’s body after death, allowing families to spend additional time with their babies after death

Who provides neonatal palliative care?

Our multidisciplinary care team has extensive training and experience in newborn palliative care and includes:

  • Neonatal nurses
  • Neonatal nurse practitioners
  • Neonatologists
  • Social workers
  • Chaplains
  • Child life specialists

Meet our NICU team.

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.

Our hospital-wide palliative care specialists are available to consult on any case in the NICU.