Quality improvement and impact

When you join the NICU Family Support team as a partner hospital, you are provided with tools, resources and a vast network that will help you achieve your patient and family experience goals.

Our commitment to our hospital partners is that we will provide you with guidance and exclusive tools to educate NICU families, support staff, and improve quality, safety, and satisfaction. This work is crucial to creating a positive environment for families and babies in the NICU. We have been providing information and support services to over 90,000 families annually and educating over 10,000 health care professionals annually through NICU Training Institute.

Quality improvement

Improving the patient and family experience in your specific NICU is at the heart of what we do. Collaboration with over 100 NICU Family Support hospital partners has resulted in improved NICU policies in the areas of family presence in the NICU, an increase in the frequency and length of skin-to-skin holding, parent inclusion on rounds, infection control and cell phone/technology policies. 

With over fifteen years of program experience in hospitals across the country, we offer feasible solutions and enhancements that have a tangible impact on the NICU experience. Some examples are: 

  • Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles implemented a standardized postpartum depression screening for all families.
  • Henrico Doctor’s Hospital’s NICU Family Support Program coordinated a four-part series on self-care for NICU staff as part of a hospital-wide effort to improve employee engagement.
  • Lehigh Valley Health Network updated their skin to skin policy to include younger gestational ages and diagnoses, using NICU Family Support resources as guidance.
  • University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital attributes increases in its patient satisfaction scores for discharge preparation to fully implementing the Core Curriculum parent education class “Taking Care of Your Baby At Home.”

Through the implementation of our NICU Family Support program and NICU Training Institute workshops, the March of Dimes promotes a better patient and family experience for families in hospitals across the country. We partner with hospitals to create an environment for families and staff that combines safe, high quality care with a focus on family satisfaction.

NICU Family Support connects your hospital to the specific resources that will help improve your patient and family experience in your NICU.

Quality Improvement areas can include:

  • Creating and sustaining a family staff advisory committee
  • Engaging families with social and educational activities
  • Implementing a process, protocol or policy shift to improve the patient and family experience


As the NICU Family Support program has developed and grown, March of Dimes has published a number of leading articles on topics such as skin-to-skin practices and family-centered care. Links to some of the literature are below.

  • Family Support and family-centered care in the neonatal intensive care unit: origins, advances, impact
  • Close to me: enhancing kangaroo care practice for NICU staff and parents
  • Development of an innovative NICU teen parent support program: one unit’s experience
  • Promoting family-centered care in the NICU through a parent-to-parent manager position

Professional Partners

The NICU Innovation team is proud to serve in various leadership, conference planning, convener and expert speaker roles with several national partners, including:

  • the Annual Gravens Conference on the Environment of Care for High-Rick Newborns (Gravens)
  • the Institute for Patient and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC)
  • the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN)
  • the National Association of Perinatal Social Workers (NAPSW)
  • the Patient Experience Institute (PXI)
  • Synova Associates (NICU Leadership Forum)

In these roles, the NICU Innovation team provides expertise in the areas of abstract submission and review, identification of relevant content and speakers, workshop facilitation, promotion, and serving as expert speakers on topics related to the patient and family experience, family support and communication (provider to family and provider to provider).

Partnering with national professional organizations in this way allows the March of Dimes to showcase its leadership and share its learnings from over 15 years providing direct support to NICU families.  If you are interested in a presentation for a conference please contact us at nicu@marchofdimes.org

NICU Leadership Forum 2017
NICU Leadership Forum 2017 Excellence Award (L-R) Cathy Bush, Chrissy Burke, Susan Clifford, Micki Arrizola, Christine Young, Emily Hirsch, Lori Gunther, Barbara Greer

“Synova Associates and the March of Dimes have had a very successful, long-standing collaborative partnership. Synova Associates provides innovative solutions for nurse leaders through the NICU and Perinatal Leadership Forums, unique meetings for nurse leaders to share cutting edge information and network with their peers from around the country. The March of Dimes has been an important contributor on the Executive Planning Committee of both meetings and shares our commitment to support the growth and development of nurse leaders. We have also shared cross-networking opportunities that help this community build deeper personal and professional connections. From top leadership to the bedside nurse, both the March of Dimes and Synova Associates are committed to improving the health of babies and their families!” - Catherine N. Bush, Managing Partner Synova Associates, LLC

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