Everyone could use some extra TLC, especially babies.
One local hospital is making that possible through a volunteer program.
Sister Doris Roy volunteers her free time as a ‘cuddler’ at Lafayette General Medical Centers Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She tells us that one of the first things she does is pray for the baby and for the family. “I pray that that baby will have a happy life and that he or she will bring much joy to their family,” says Sister Doris.
Sister Doris has served as a Chaplin for LGMC for 25 years and recently retired.
“We try to give our love to the babies, and by holding the babies. It’s just a rewarding experience to know that you’re helping that baby,” says Sister Doris.
Cuddlers are brought in to give babies extra attention, as well as human interaction.
Cuddlers help alleviate some of the workload of the nurses.
“We really wanted to make sure that the nurses could provide the medical care necessary to the babies that need it and the cuddlers are there to supplement the nursing care by giving the babies that need the touch and the hold and the rocking, the attention that they deserve also,” says Daryl Cetnar, the Director of Communications at LGMC.
The program is still fairly new and already has an impressive amount of potential volunteers on the waiting list.
A majority of the babies in the NICU are premature or still too small to be sent home, while others may be sick and need to be monitored closely.
“We have a wide range of parents as well, whether it be because of distance, or medical conditions that they cant come in as often as they’d like,” says RN Ariele Buteau. “So they’re able to consent for this program to have somebody provide that attention, that they themselves cannot provide.””
An alternate cuddling method that is a part of the program are “Momaroo” machines. These donated swings rock the babies back and forth.
All cuddlers go through a screening and are trained to handle the babies.
If you wish to be a cuddler for the NICE Rocks program, please contact Monica Guidry at 337-289-7130 from the LGMC Volunteer Service.