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August 05, 2019

The Family Institute at Northwestern University is pleased to announce our partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana
For new mothers, the experience of having a baby in the NICU can be heavy, nervous and isolating, presenting both physical and serious emotional challenges. The Family Institute is working with Ronald McDonald House Charities to provide these mothers and families with care and support. The foundation of Ronald McDonald House's mission is to "exist so families can get better together." The partnership with The Family Institute offers to address the unique needs of postpartum mothers of critically ill infants in the NICU, and aim for care that is holistic. 
We are providing therapy services to families with children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, bringing specialized services into the Ronald McDonald House environment and specifically addressing the unique needs of the NICU population. 
The Family Institute’s therapists are offering group sessions to new mothers with consistent check-ins about how they are feeling, teaching them mindfulness through meditation and providing these parents space to talk about their day-to-day challenges. The group also discusses strategies to empower these women, such as how to utilize their support systems. 
During a recent session, one mother said, “it was so good to hear that someone went through what my daughter’s going through and is now okay.” And another mom shared, “I still feel exhausted, but I feel less anxious.”
Additionally, our therapists are providing skills-based training to Ronald McDonald House staff to better equip them to support the unique needs of these guest families. Skill-based training educates staff on tangible, specific, actionable direction to work through the difficult situations they may encounter.
This partnership is supported in part by a $50,000 Remarkable Impact Grant, awarded by Ronald McDonald House Charities through the generosity of AbbVie.