Loyola Medicine was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from Huggies® as part of the company's No Baby Unhugged initiative.
The money will be used to expand Loyola's current Cradle Cuddler program with additional volunteers who provide comfort to the hospital's tiniest patients.
Cradle Cuddler Volunteers hold, calm, cuddle, read to or provide other comfort measures to premature infants, who on average stay 18 days in Loyola's neonatal intensive care unit.
"Human touch, including cuddling, is important in an infant's development," said Anne Cunningham, RN, nursing manager of Loyola's NICU. "Because a baby's stay in the NICU can last for weeks, family members often cannot be at the bedside for the entirety. Having someone to provide comfort and interaction helps not just the baby, but supports the family as well."
Loyola will train 25 people to become Cradle Cuddler Volunteers. Interested volunteers should apply online. They will be subject to an expanded background check and health screening.
"We are grateful to the Huggies® No Baby Unhugged initiative helping provide expanded support to our NICU babies," said Bob Nolan, senior director, corporate and foundation relations. "We believe in treating patients, both body and soul, and these volunteers will help us carry out that mission."
Loyola Medicine’s board-certified neonatologists are nationally and internationally recognized as leaders in neonatal care. As a Level III Perinatal Center, Loyola offers the latest technology, therapies and techniques and serves as a national model for specialized protocols and practices in the care of premature infants.