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Reading Program Extended to Critical Newborns December 4, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rebecca Sylvester, 706/828-2394.

University Hospital Provides March of Dimes NICU Bedside Reading Program to Critical Newborns and their Families

(AUGUSTA, GEORGIA, Dec. 4, 2007)—University Hospital is one of 28 hospitals across Georgia to provide the March of Dimes NICU Bedside Reading Program to babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and their families.

Roughly 1 in 10 newborns wind up in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) because they are born too soon, too small or with a birth defect. The experience can be overwhelming for families. Under the umbrella of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign, the goal of the NICU Bedside Reading Program is to make the journey through newborn intensive care smoother and less traumatic by giving parents the opportunity to bond with their newborn.

The soothing sound of a parent’s voice is important in establishing the parent-infant relationship. Through the NICU Bedside Reading Program, parents, as well as big brothers and sisters, have the opportunity to read to the baby in the NICU. The NICU Bedside Reading Program enhances the family’s experience in the NICU and promotes crucial bonding within the family.

“A strong patient-infant bond is the most important factor in a good outcome for each baby,” said Elizabeth Price, R.N., director of Women’s and Children’s Services at University Hospital. “The books will help the parents bond with their new baby. So many times, parents feel helpless when their infant is in the NICU – they can’t pick them up like a healthy newborn. Touching them and reading to them is a comfort to the baby as well as the parents.”

About the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy to save babies and in 2003 launched a campaign to address the increasing rate of premature birth. For more information, visit the March of Dimes Web site at marchofdimes.com or its Spanish language Web site at nacersano.org.
ABOUT UNIVERSITY. University Health Care System in Augusta, Ga., is a multifaceted health system offering a comprehensive and integrated range of services to people living throughout a 25-county region in Georgia and South Carolina. The cornerstone of University Health Care System is University Hospital, a 581-bed community not-for-profit acute care hospital. University leads the region in diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and is noted as a leader in obstetrical and gynecological care for women. Founded in 1818, University is the oldest hospital in Augusta and the second oldest in the state. University has been named the Consumer Choice Award winner in the Augusta metropolitan statistical area for nine consecutive years based on overall quality and image, and is the only hospital in Augusta to have earned the Magnet designation for excellence in nursing.

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