A new program at Victoria General Hospital is getting a lot of love.
The hospital’s new No Baby Unhugged program has those volunteers cuddle, rock and sing to premature and sick newborns who serve to benefit from their embraces.
Manager of Perinatal Services Gillian Kozinka says the program is giving their parents some much-needed relief.
“It actually alleviates a little bit of the guilt our families experience when they need to go pump milk, or grab a shower, or a hot meal because they’ve often been at the bedside with their sick infants for very long, extended periods of time.”
She says babies exposed to substances show the most need for hugs.
“Those babies are really irritable and needing lots of lots of cuddles and love, over and above pharmacological intervention.”
Kozinka adds there are three on-call volunteers ready with arms wide open.
Dr. Brendan Carr, President and CEO of Island Health, adds that babies in the program have stable heart rates, faster weight gain and a better tolerance to pain.
Results also suggest they have improved oxygen levels and stabilized body temperatures.
Victoria General is the first hospital on Canada’s west coast to implement the program.