NICU babies get a cuddle

Six months ago Karen started a volunteer cuddler program in the NICU. Since then, volunteer “cuddlers” have logged 180 hours of service, rocking and calming scores of infants. Five certified volunteers now help in the unit and Karen hopes to recruit more. Pat Cohen was among the first to sign up. “We drop everything and come when we’re needed,” she says. “The best part is watching a baby’s heart rate go down as they relax.” Volunteers also work with babies who need stimulation to help them develop, and they will even change diapers at times. Both staff and families have come to trust their assistance. “I’ve had moms call and ask if we have a cuddler,” Karen reports. “This service definitely improves our patient experience and without increasing costs.”