NICU HEALING GARDEN
Sunshine, flowers and fresh air
he Bryan Foundation’s campaign to support the NICU Healing Garden was incredibly successful, thanks to the generosity of our many donors. This campaign raised more than $500,000 over a two-year period, providing a healing, peaceful garden space for the families of our tiniest critically ill patients. “The neonatal intensive care unit is always quiet, and the lighting is subdued because our babies can become overstimulated by noise and too much light,” explains NICU manager Laurie Ketterl, RN, BSN. “Family members have often shared, however, that this environment after many days and weeks can seem ‘closed in,’ and they miss sunlight, fresh air and being outside.” The idea for the Healing Garden emerged when Laurie spoke with the father of one of the NICU’s babies. He said it would be nice if a small garden was near the NICU, as his family often wished to visit the hospital gardens to walk and relax, but didn’t want to leave their baby for even a short time. So the idea for the NICU Healing Garden was born — a private garden for NICU families to unwind, get fresh air and sunshine and, if possible, bring Brian and Angie Zimmer their babies and be together soothe daughter Ashley on the with them. The garden also is day she was able to go home a place for NICU staff to briefly from the NICU. spend private time. Teri Feit, RN, a NICU nurse for over 20 years, adds, “The garden is a comforting place for our staff, as well as for families. As a nurse, it’s a place of refuge where you can take a minute to catch your breath, regroup and sometimes shed a tear before heading back into the hustle and bustle of the NICU.” “We know that calming, natural environments like our NICU Healing Garden can reduce anxiety and distress and promote a sense of calmness,” says Valerie Hunt of the Bryan Foundation. “We’re deeply grateful that our donors helped create the garden. Each year, it will touch the lives of thousands of our staff and of family members who face the roller coaster ride that is having a newborn in the NICU.” n
6 Fall 2016
While baby Ashley was a patient, the Healing Garden provided a quiet space for parents Angie and Brian (right). Gifts to the Bryan Foundation made this area possible. To learn how you can support the work of Bryan Health, contact the Bryan Foundation at 402-481-8605. To see a video about VIDEO the NICU Healing Garden, go to bryanhealth.org/nicu.