Newborns at St. Luke’s University Health Network are getting lots of love this Valentine’s Day thanks to the Network’s new “cuddler” program.
Cuddler volunteers are specially trained to interact with babies, both premature and full-term, during times when their parents can’t be with them at the hospital. Every parent wants to be with their baby, but sometimes jobs, appointments and family demands at home take them away. During these times, parents can take great comfort in knowing that cuddlers are available for their baby.
From front to back and left to right: Mom Leila Burke with Baby Romeo; Cuddler Volunteers Nina McCullough and Dr. Marnie O’Brien; Jessika Haynos, Service Line Manager, Children’s Services, St. Luke’s University Health Network; Barbara Raab, BSN, RNC-NIC, March of Dimes NICU Family Support Coordinator, St. Luke’s University Health Network.
Research shows cuddling helps to support the development and growth of infants.
What do cuddlers do?
- Provide a human touch, holding babies
- Read to babies or quietly sing to them to provide stimulation.
Cuddlers receive extensive training, follow strict hand washing practices while in the hospital to ensure babies are safe from infection and adhere to all hospital policies and confidentiality requirements.
About St. Luke’sFounded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network providing services at nine hospitals and nearly 300 outpatient sites. With annual net revenue of $1.7 billion, the network’s service area includes 10 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery, Berks and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is a major teaching hospital – the only one in the Greater Lehigh Valley. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first and only regional medical school campus. It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 23 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 189 residents. Repeatedly, including 2017, St. Luke’s earned Truven’s 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital and 50 Top Cardiovascular Program designations, in addition to other honors for clinical excellence. St. Luke’s, utilizing the EPIC electronic medical record (EMR) system, is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of St. Luke’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information. St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.