Alta Bates Summit NICU Receives $10,000 Huggies Grant for Infant Cuddler Program

Posted on Jan 9, 2018

Joan Webster, an Infant Cuddler Program volunteer for the last 8 years trains Youth Bridge student Robert Portilla on the proper way to hold an infant.

Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (ABSMC) today received a $10,000 grant for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) from the Huggies Hospital Hugger Grant program, as part of the No Baby Unhugged initiative. The Alta Bates Summit infant cuddler program has been in existence since 1987. Babies in the NICU and a robust and engaged group of volunteer huggers will benefit from the grant, which will fund new rocking chairs and enhanced volunteer training with an infant massage specialist.

“This wonderful grant will allow us to serve all of our smallest patients, as research continues to show touch improves physical outcomes, enhances feelings of security and improves sleep for these sick babies,” says Alison Brooks, RNC, MS, and Clinical Nurse Specialist for the Alta Bates Summit NICU. “We are also seeing an increase in the number of babies born to mothers addicted to opioids and other substances who greatly benefit from touch for healthy neurological development.”

Joan Webster shares a moment with Alison Brooks, RNC, MS, and Clinical Nurse Specialist for the Alta Bates Summit NICU who’s holding some training dolls.

Volunteer Huggers to Receive Additional Training and New Glider Rockers
As one of the largest birthing centers in Northern California and a leader in perinatal care throughout the region, Alta Bates delivered more than 5,800 babies last year. Nearly one fifth of the babies born are admitted or transferred to the NICU at Alta Bates Summit. Recognition of the tremendous work accomplished in the NICU will allow the hospital to retain its dedicated group of volunteer huggers as they learn how to best position and touch a NICU baby to have a positive impact on the babies they hug.

Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento was also one of 15 hospitals to receive a Huggies No Baby Unhugged grant in 2017.

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