AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Hand to Hold, a national nonprofit organization that offers emotional support for NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) parents before, during and after a NICU stay, will host a free virtual conference for NICU parents and professionals from November 3 through November 5, during Prematurity Awareness Month. The conference, sponsored by longtime national partner Huggies®, will offer three tracks: one for NICU families, NICU professionals and Familias NICU (in Spanish).
The conference will highlight leading subject experts in maternal and paternal mental health, trauma-informed care, self-care and much more. Keynote speaker Susan David, PhD, author of the #1 The Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Emotional Agility, TED Speaker, and award-winning Harvard Psychologist, will inspire both NICU parents and professionals with her revolutionary, science-based approach that helps those impacted by adversity and trauma to thrive in an uncertain world by becoming more emotionally agile.
Across the country, one in seven babies spend time in the NICU, and more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely each year. As preterm births continue to rise, Hand to Hold's 2021 NICU Community Conference is the first and only conference built to ultimately improve the NICU experience for these families and their caregivers. Programming will address the acute mental, emotional and social challenges many families face both in the NICU and after discharge. Attendees will learn about educational resources available to support their families and how to cope with potential long-term medical and developmental needs of their fragile babies.
These conversations and tools are critically important, as many premature NICU graduates face long-term medical challenges and developmental delays, while their parents are at higher risk for Perinatal Mood, Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) and PTSD. Add-on additional stressors related to COVID-19 including financial concerns, hospital visitation restrictions and social isolation from family and friends, and the risk for PMADs for these fragile families are significantly elevated.
"Caring for a medically fragile child following hospital discharge can be an isolating and daunting experience as many NICU graduates have complex healthcare needs, feeding issues, developmental delays and learning challenges," said Kelli Kelley, NICU graduate parent and Hand to Hold Founder and CEO. "Hand to Hold is dedicated to supporting the emotional needs of NICU parents by providing early intervention support for NICU families as well as education and resources to help NICU professionals improve family-centered care in their hospitals."
For NICU professionals, the conference will raise awareness of the impact of traumatic birth and a NICU stay on families, educate around health disparities and the importance of cultural competence in the NICU, and elevate the need for family-centered care, including peer-to-peer support and trained mental health peer specialists and counselors.
Participants can attend as few or as many sessions as they like. CEU credits are available for select sessions.
To register or learn more about the conference agenda click here.
About Hand to Hold®:
Hand to Hold is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) based in Austin, Texas that provides personalized emotional support before, during and after a NICU stay to help ensure that all NICU families thrive. They envision a world where every NICU family has a trusted Hand to Hold through their NICU journey and beyond. To learn more, visit www.handtohold.org.
SOURCE Hand to Hold