Saint Luke's to unveil Missouri’s first March of Dimes NICU Family Support® Bright Space® for Siblings

Bright Space to open at Saint Luke’s Hospital on Dec. 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 26, 2012) — Families with a newborn in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City will have a new Bright Space® to have fun and play in beginning Dec. 6, thanks to an innovative partnership with the March of Dimes and the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.

“This Bright Space will provide families with a dedicated area where they can support each other as they are having fun,” said Ileen Henderson, director, Bright Space Program Development and Training, Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.“We hope it will maintain a sense of normalcy for siblings and families of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).”

Bright Spaces, the signature program of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, creates warm, enriching playrooms in organizations that give children and families a special place to gather together and have fun. The Bright Space at Saint Luke’s Hospital is the first Bright Space for NICU Siblings in Kansas City and only one of five to be located in a NICU in the U.S. this year.

“Saint Luke’s Hospital is delighted to partner with the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children and continue our longstanding partnership with March of Dimes,” said Barbara Carr, M.D., NICU medical director. “As a family-centered hospital, we are excited to create an enriching learning and play facility for the siblings and families of the more than 400 premature or critically ill newborns treated at Saint Luke’s Hospital annually.”

“Bright Spaces bring hope and comfort to families and children during an especially difficult time – when a baby is in neonatal intensive care. The Bright Space for NICU Siblings in Kansas City is fourth to open in the U.S. this year for the March of Dimes and we are grateful to Saint Luke’s Hospital and Bright Horizons for their partnership and commitment,” said Ken Jackson, State Director, March of Dimes Greater Kansas Chapter. “It is a meaningful way to enhance our March of Dimes NICU Family Support program at Saint Luke’s.”

In addition to serving as a gathering place for families, the Bright Space at Saint Luke’s Hospital will offer hope and inspiration through beautiful photography and inspiring quotes mounted on the walls. It also will include special materials for siblings with a particular focus on pretend play involving baby dolls, home living, and medical play. “Having a baby in the NICU is a challenging time for families,” said Dr. Carr. “This Bright Space will offer a place where moms can talk, siblings can play, and where families can simply be together.” The March of Dimes chose the NICU at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City as one of the five Bright Spaces for NICU Siblings sites in the U.S. because of its longstanding relationship with the organization. March of Dimes NICU Family Support® was established at the hospital in 2005. NICU Family Support is built on a family-centered philosophy and addresses the needs of parents, siblings and extended family throughout the baby’s hospitalization, during the transition home, and in the event of a newborn death.

About the NICU at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City The NICU at Saint Luke’s Hospital is a Level IIIb unit offering one of the highest levels of NICU care available. The NICU utilizes a team of experts including neonataologists, lactation consultants, and nutritionists, and cares for more than 400 premature and critically ill newborns each year.

Saint Luke’s Hospital is a member of Saint Luke's Health System, which consists of 10 area hospitals and many primary care practices, and provides a range of inpatient, outpatient, and home care services. Founded as a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, our mission includes a commitment to the highest levels of excellence in health care and the advancement of medical research and education. The health system is an aligned organization in which the physicians and hospitals assume responsibility for enhancing the physical, mental, and spiritual health of people in the metropolitan Kansas City area and the surrounding region.

About Bright Horizons Family Solutions Bright Horizons Family Solutions is the world’s leading provider of employer-sponsored child care, early education and work/life solutions. The company operates child care and early education centers across the United States, Europe and Canada. The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children was founded in 1999 to help forward the vision of Bright Horizons Family Solutions to brighten the lives of children, youth, and families in crisis. Bright Spaces is a program of the Foundation, creating dedicated play areas in homeless shelters and community agencies. There are now more than 260 Bright Spaces located in shelters in more than 35 states around the country and Europe, serving thousands of children each year. More information is at www.brighthorizonsfoundation.org.

About the March of Dimes Each year, the Greater Kansas Chapter of the March of Dimes invests in mission initiatives statewide, including research grants and local community services. Through these program services, the March of Dimes works to prevent birth defects and infant death, reduce the area’s premature birth rate, increase access to prenatal care, and educate health care providers and women about having full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit www.marchofdimes.com/kansas.

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