In 2008, Dr. Elvira Parravicini, a neonatologist at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) / New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital (NYP), was called to provide counseling to a mother whose baby was prenatally diagnosed with a life-limiting genetic condition. Although no medical or surgical treatments were available to help this baby girl recover from her condition, Dr. Parravicini was able to alleviate her suffering and provide comfort during her brief life. Dr. Parravicini’s work with this mother made her realize that babies with short life expectancies required a specialized medical protocol that the hospital, at that time, did not have in place.
Accordingly, Dr. Parravicini began to assemble a standard plan of care, which, over time, developed into an innovative interdisciplinary program called the Neonatal Comfort Care Program (NCCP). The Program’s goals: to provide the most comfortable and loving environment for these babies, to help their families manage and navigate the immense practical and emotional burdens that come with their babies’ conditions, and to offer an option of care that families find safe, supportive and in-line with their personal beliefs and desires.
Our Program has a measurable record of success in helping vulnerable babies and their families. No other medical center in the region is able to provide the range of specialized services offered by the NCCP, from prenatal diagnosis to birth and beyond. Our interdisciplinary team works together with each family to develop a plan for prenatal care and delivery, and coordinates postpartum care for the infant and their family, including long-term bereavement support and counseling. The acknowledgement of their child as unique and precious, and the opportunity to celebrate their baby’s life, are invaluable to our families
Because each baby’s life is precious, the Neonatal Comfort Care Program is devoted to providing the best interdisciplinary care, teaching and research, so that our specialized approach will become the standard of care around the world for any baby born with life-limiting conditions.
The Neonatal Comfort Care Program honors the lives of babies with life-limiting conditions by creating a safe and loving space for bonding, attachment, comfort, and joy for them and their families. We journey with families from diagnosis through birth and beyond, as we offer them guidance and support, and provide a unique medical plan that follows the natural course of each baby’s life.
The Neonatal Comfort Care Program offers a service of Perinatal / Neonatal Palliative Care, and its specialized approach encompasses the following:
Individualized medical evaluation and plan, including alleviation of pain
Comfort measures, such as holding, skin-to-skin contact, and feeding
Memory-making activities, such as handprints + footprints, photographs, and personalized keepsakes
Emotional, psychological and spiritual care, including both short- and long-term bereavement support
The Neonatal Comfort Care Program is also committed to teaching and research, to inspire and guide professionals in the perinatal field to develop similar programs.