NICU Reunions

  1. 2
    I'm considering taking the lead on starting up NICU reunions for graduates and parents of my unit. We haven't ever done it formally, but I want to.

    Anyone have any pointers/advice on how you organize reunions for your unit?
    Should they be informal, birthday party-ish things or something more formal?
    How far back in history do you send invitations?
    Do you hand out gifts? Food? Hor d'oeuvres?
    How much could this potentially cost, either from hospital funding or out of my pocket if the hospital won't pay?

    Thanks!
    SoldierNurse22 and Esme12 like this.
  2. 6 Comments so far...

  3. 4
    We used to do it but they cut our funding. We had a gathering in one of our large common areas in the hospital. We had cookies and punch. We took pictures and made a reunion board each year that we hung in the unit. We also encouraged parents with babies in the unit to come down and meet the kids and families. It was very sad when they cut it out. Because we are a county entity we had to get permission for fundraising and we had to jump thru so many hoops it just got to be such a hassle.
    SoldierNurse22, prmenrs, Bortaz, RN, and 1 other like this.
  4. 3
    You start small--a little party in the hospital, a conference room, enclosed dining room, etc., punch and cookies. We had one once near Halloween, so kids came in costume. The parents LOVE it, the hospital can get local news coverage (coordinate w/your public affairs/info office-don't leave them out of the loop, they get their panties in a real twist). Volunteers can help if you have cuddlers.

    Hard part is to track down all the 'grads'. Once you have a contact list, send info to families. If you get a good response, the whole thing can grow, so get help. Look for enthusiastic staff members. Eventually, you can use a community park, have hamburgers and hot dogs, etc. We have had Fire Engines and ambulances, police cars for the kids, even pony rides one time. (that is harder than it sounds!)

    It can become an annual event. As I said, parents really like seeing the nurses, doctors, cuddlers, therapists. And it is good for staff to see that these kids have a life ( usually a very good one) after their NICU experience.
    VickyRN, SoldierNurse22, and Bortaz, RN like this.
  5. 3
    I don't know anything about how/where to start such an organization etc. I can give you my experience in attending a NICU reunion party though

    My son "graduated" from a NICU and they have a Christmas reunion party every year for the "graduates" Any child that graduated during the year was invited. Even some of the more stable babies from the unit that hadn't yet graduated attended. It was held in a conference room of the hospital. There was a Santa Claus and a professional photographer. Pics were provided at no charge for the families and there was an online album of all the pics from the event- password protected. Each child received a small gift from Santa. There were snacks, drinks, decorations, music etc.
    It was REALLY nice as a parent, I really appreciated the effort that was put into it. It was great to see some of the nurses and doctors that had cared for my son as well. An all around enjoyable experience!
    VickyRN, SoldierNurse22, and Bortaz, RN like this.
  6. 1
    Those sound fun! We didn't have much trouble tracking our kids since we follow them for up to three years and many of them continue their care at the campus. We were so scrutinized by the board it was like going to court And any donations that are made to our unit, no matter what they are for, have to go into the general fund and then are doled out, which can take a year to get. Working for a county that got nailed for some bad financial things is a royal drag
    Bortaz, RN likes this.
  7. 0
    We have started doing them every two years at a local zoo for the graduates who are aged 4 and 5. Therefore, unless families have more than one baby, they usually only attend one reunion. They are planned by our March of Dimes Family Support Program's advisory committee, which is made up of volunteers, parents of NICU graduates, and hospital employees (both NICU and non-NICU). We held our first on in 2012, and it was so awesome!
  8. 1
    I don't work NICU, but ours has no problem finding sponsors for the costs and supplies associated. Local TV stations all show up and cover it as Sundays are usually a slow news day. It is held at a local park.
    Bortaz, RN likes this.


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