The NICU at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center was the first in Maryland to provide the March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program to families. Since 2008, the MedStar Franklin Square NICU Family Support program has been improving the patient and family experience in the NICU. Services are provided to all NICU families, regardless of diagnosis or length of stay.
Beyond the NICU, March of Dimes advocates for the health of all moms and babies. We invite all of you to join the March of Dimes Advocacy Action Center. Additional information on current action campaigns can be found on the March of Dimes website.
We are Here to Support You and Your Family
The NICU Family Support program empowers families to advocate for their baby, so that family members and hospital staff work together as members of the baby's healthcare team. The program is created and run by a volunteer committee, consisting of graduate NICU families, NICU staff, and a NICU Family Support Program Coordinator. There are additional, specially trained parent-to-parent support volunteers, all former NICU parents, who provide bedside support.
We Educate Families
We educate families NICU Family Support provides every family with a Parent Care Kit, which contains sensitive educational materials that introduce parents to the staff, equipment, procedures, and conditions they may encounter in the NICU. These materials are available in print and digital formats to make them accessible to all families at any time. The Program Coordinator also addresses the informational and emotional needs of families when they arrive in the NICU, during their NICU stay, and while their child is transitioning from MedStar Franklin Square Hospital. Class topics include NICU 101, Nutrition, Kangaroo Care, and Transitioning to Home. These classes help parents be confident caregivers to their baby in the NICU and at home.
We Educate NICU Staff
NICU Family Support has a professional development component, which brings family-centered educational programs to NICU staff members. Presentations on communication, family centered care, and patient experience for the NICU are offered monthly, as well as a special series of webinars with continuing education credits for all interested nurses.
We Improve the NICU Experience
Each year MedStar Franklin Square's NICU Family Support program chooses a new focus area in order to support quality improvement goals in the NICU. Past projects include expanding support and education to families in the NICU for less than 2 weeks; using photography in the unit to foster connection between families and babies; and how to cope with the stress of a NICU experience. The program also provides ways for families to provide guidance and feedback to the NICU, through a Family Staff Advisory Committee.
In addition, the program coordinates with a photographer to provide free, professional photographs to families on a regular basis; and offers weekly scrapbooking and crafts so families have keepsakes of their little one.
March of Dimes Family Program Coordinator
Erin Fierro received her Bachelor of Arts from Temple University. She worked as a recruiter for seven years, rising up to the role of recruiting director for Cornerstone Financial Partners. After having two children, both born in the NICU at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, she became a stay at home mom and started participating in parent support groups.
Erin is a proud member of the NICU team as a March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program Coordinator, to help other mothers with their NICU journey. A member of the MedStar Franklin Square NICU Advisory Committee since 2014, Erin has established great relationships with staff members and is extremely knowledgeable about the program.
Erin is passionate about supporting NICU families from both her personal and professional experience. She works to support the entire family, as well as the NICU staff, to create a family-centered NICU.
For more information, please call 443-777-7050.
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
9000 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237
Family Support Program Coordinator
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) needs the support of the community, patients, and associates to build and expand the NICU.