Every 4.5 minutes a baby is born with a major birth defect in the United States. Fairview Hospital, a division of the Cleveland Clinic, is a local facility for the Elyria, Ohio Ross Medical Education Center campus that is able to accommodate these infants and their parents. Their unit is equipped with 26 beds and is directed by skilled neonatologists who provide a full range of treatment utilizing modern, advanced equipment.
The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) staff is required to go through developmental training called “Wee Care.” As a result, a womb-like environment is simulated in the nursery. With a keen awareness of the premature infants’ hypersensitivity to the environment, dim-lighting, reduced noise levels, special bedding, and “Kangaroo Care” (skin to skin contact) between the parent and child helps babies spend more time growing and developing. Overall, the program leads to healthier babies that go home earlier.
After speaking with the nursing director, Denise, the campus decided to support this awesome facility and their efforts by making and donating receiving blankets. Although they send their patients home with halos for protected swaddling, they also suggested that the blankets could be used for covering mom and baby during Kangaroo Care.
January was Birth Defect Prevention Month and knowing that most of the Ross Elyria students are parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles, the staff and faculty thought sponsoring this cause would resonate closely. Students, staff, and faculty participated in the project by decorating quilt squares with fabric markers, stencils, and their own artistic talent. In turn, other members of the staff spent hours of their own time cutting, assembling, and sewing the blankets.
For health and privacy reasons the campus was unable to personally deliver the blankets to any of the families. However, the staff was excited and appreciative to receive the generous donation. “It was wonderful to see the entire campus come together to create something so meaningful for the littlest members of our community,” shared Financial Aid Student Support Representative Peggy Garn.