Texas Children's Pavilion for Women offers unique new class for families expecting babies with medical complications

HOUSTON - (April. 3, 2014) - Texas Children's Pavilion for Women, one of the nation's premier facilities for women's, fetal and newborn health, recently launched a new class that aims to educate and empower parents expecting babies with medical conditions that will require care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) after birth. The unique class, "Parenting Your Hospitalized Infant," was developed to help parents navigate and understand the challenges of parenting a hospitalized newborn and become better prepared for the experience.

"Because we are increasingly able to diagnose complex medical conditions in-utero at Texas Children's Fetal Center, we saw the need to provide a specialized resource for parents whose baby or babies would be born with complications that would require specialized care immediately after birth," said Carmen Watrin, clinical nurse specialist, Texas Children's Outcomes and Impact. "This class will help prepare parents for the emotional and unknown experience of parenting their hospitalized infant and empower them to be an active part of their baby's care team by providing insight into the ICU experience while also teaching coping strategies."

The half-day class, taught by Texas Children's Hospital doctors, nurses and other care providers, also features "family panel" breakaway sessions where parents whose babies were formerly in the NICU or CVICU at Texas Children's share their firsthand experiences and answer expectant parent's questions.

"This new class focuses on all aspects of the experience - from the birth of your child to explaining caregiving teams and teaching parents about the support resources available to them," said Erin Watts, mother of a former CVICU patient who helped create the class and participates as a member of the family panel. "Having this information ahead of time helps parents set expectations and empowers them to be active participants in their child's care, even when their child requires intensive medical interventions."

The class is offered four times per year at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women. Families are referred to the class through Texas Children's Fetal Center, their perinatologist or maternal-fetal-medicine specialist when a fetal abnormality is identified or if fetal surgery takes place. Parents learn about a wide array of topics ranging from emotional health and bonding with their baby, to feeding their hospitalized newborn. To learn more about the class, call 832-825-3276 or visit www.women.texaschildrens.org/Patient-Education.

Together with the Pavilion for Women, Texas Children's Hospital has the largest NICU in the world, with a total of 173 beds and 36 private NICU rooms, four of which are specifically designed to accommodate multiples. Texas Children's offers level IV NICU care, the highest level of care available, with access to every pediatric subspecialty.

The CVICU at Texas Children's features 21 beds and admits approximately 800 children with heart disease each year. The CVICU teams care for many children each year who require mechanical cardiac support and undergo heart transplantation and the hospital also has a very active Heart Failure and Heart Transplant program. The multidisciplinary team includes cardiovascular intensivists trained in pediatric cardiology, pediatric cardiovascular anesthesiology and pediatric critical care. These specialists work alongside cardiac surgeons and together with a team of highly specialized nurses, respiratory therapists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to provide the best care for patients.

Situated in the heart of the Texas Medical Center, the 15-story Texas Children's Pavilion for Women is one of the few hospitals worldwide to offer a full spectrum of maternal and fetal medicine services including an array of fetal diagnostic procedures and highly specialized fetal surgeries. A two-story circular sky bridge connects the Pavilion for Women to Texas Children's West Tower and Clinical Care facilities, enhancing patient care by providing physicians, staff and patient families with rapid access to all patient care facilities.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.