Keep on a-rocking me

There will be some rocking good times at Trinity Health, although not quite the kind of rocking that one might typically think. Instead of music played on electric guitars, amplified sound and the drummer’s name that no one remembers, the kind of rocking at the hospital will include babies and rocking chairs.

Trinity Health has just implemented a volunteer rockers program with a kick-off event that took place Monday on the Trinity Hospital Skywalk. The rockers program, an initiative of the Trinity Auxiliary, recruits volunteers who are trained by nursing staff to soothe hospitalized infants and young children by rocking them. The rockers program is a collaborative effort of Trinity Auxiliary, Nursing and I.Keating Furniture World, which donated the rocking chairs.

Jamie Hammer, nurse manager in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and pediatrics at Trinity Health, said the rockers program is a brand new program for the hospital. The program will be starting in pediatrics where there are much less cords or monitors, she added, and then transition into the NICU.

The rockers program is beneficial in a variety of ways. Hammer said it helps volunteers and patients as well as frees up the nurses, gives a positive impact on the community and helps people explore career opportunities earlier, especially students thinking about going into the medical field. “Studies have shown that babies who have been rocked in volunteer rocker programs gain weight quicker, have improved social skills and have a shorter stay in the hospital,” she added.

Lisa Holtzclaw, director of women’s and children’s services at Trinity Health, was one of the many excited people attending the program’s kick-off event and had nothing but positive things to say about the new volunteer rocker program. “I believe the rocker program will be a great asset, serving the needs of our pediatric and newborn patients to promote growth and development, infant pediatric bonding and promoting optimal patient outcomes,” she said.

“We already have a lot of rockers,” Hammer said, but applications are still being accepted. People interested in being volunteer rockers can contact Sherry Maragos, Trinity Hospitals’ volunteer services coordinator, at 857-5221 or email at Volunteers fill out an application and go through an orientation process with the nurses. The orientation process includes proper hand washing techniques for the volunteers, lessons on how to handle a baby and how to read a monitor, Hammer said.