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Parent Partners in Preemie Care


The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s Hospital Central California realizes parents play an essential role in the health and well-being of their babies. The Partners in Care (PIC) council provides an opportunity for moms and dads to become allies with NICU staff to ensure excellent patient family care. Parent Representative Ashley Larios talks with NICU parent Ana Garcia

Composed of parents, nurses, respiratory care practitioners, social workers and administrators, the PIC offers insight and suggestions for policies and programs. Since its inception in 2008, it has provided input for the new preemie parenting classes, made the waiting area more family-friendly with comfortable couches and a sibling play area, and established a parent support group.

“The PIC promotes family-centered care,” said Denise Hippert, RN, council chair. “Our nurses and staff are passionate about involving parents in the care of their baby and welcoming them into the unit.”

PIC parent representative, Sara Ortega, whose daughters Savahna, 6, and Jazlynn, 18 months, were born premature, understands the importance of providing parent support. “When you’re in the ICU, you can feel alone and get stressed out,” said Ortega. “It’s nice to talk to someone who has already been through what you’re going through.”

The PIC also hosts a monthly “Meet the Doctors” night where parents interact with Children’s Hospital’s board certified neonatologists in a relaxed environment. Parents can ask questions, learn about preemie care and get to know their child’s physician.

“Parents know every detail about their child’s health,” said Hippert. “The more the parents are involved in the process while in the hospital, the better the outcome when the family takes the baby home.”