Navigating the stressors of a medically complicated birth can seem overwhelming, even for those that may have good health insurance and few barriers to resources. For families struggling to overcome disparities involving the social determinants of health, like lack of access to basic necessities (e.g. housing or food) or even managing addiction or mental health concerns, giving birth to a NICU baby can create further insecurities experienced by the whole family. This is where our team of social workers at ProgenyHealth play such a pivotal role in the lives of these vulnerable infants and their families, connecting them to vital local resources like food and housing, drug rehabilitation programs, and counseling services.
Nearly half of all US adults have difficulty understanding and using health information, according to a 2004 landmark report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. To the nurses at ProgenyHealth, health literacy is the ability of caregivers, most often the parents, whose infant(s) are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to attain, process, and understand health information and services needed to make informed decisions.