Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center is home to one of the most comprehensive Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the region. If a newborn requires critical care, Shady Grove’s NICU offers life-saving equipment designed especially for infants, along with doctors and staff who specialize in caring for babies with complex medical situations.

The Shady Grove Medical Center Foundation is working to give our NICU families a special space to retreat and recharge on the unit, something that is essential when spending days on end at the hospital.

“For such a busy place with so many people around, it can be a really lonely,” said Kymberli Petronio, whose triplets were born at 28-weeks gestation and weighed two pounds each. Over the eight weeks that their babies spent in the NICU, Kymberli and her husband, Christopher, often found themselves in need of a place where they could decompress. “I would have loved to have a spot where I could bring in meals so I could keep energized,” she said.


“Our vision is to build a place for families to de-stress a little bit and to come away from the bedside where it is so intense” said Amy Gilkey, the NICU’s clinical nurse manager. “The new lounge will be a place to keep food refrigerated, have a meal, watch TV, plug in a computer or talk with other families who are going through similar challenges.”

Whether a child’s medical circumstances were anticipated or not, a stay in the NICU can feel very frightening and difficult for parents. Our NICU team offers emotional care to families by connecting them with support groups, spiritual care and social services.

“While the new lounge will certainly meet the needs of parents and families, it is also important for the babies in our NICU,” said Dr. Jim Rost, medical director of the NICU. “Research demonstrates that babies with the best outcomes have parents who are involved in their care. The lounge will encourage that involvement by making it easier on parents to be present.”

“We had such a wonderful experience and Shady Grove has been like a family to us,” said Petronio. “This lounge project shows the community that Shady Grove Medical Center is committed to the well-being of the entire family.”

This Giving Tuesday, consider donating to the Shady Grove Medical Center Foundation to help fund this important project for both our hospital and community. To donate, please visit the Shady Grove Medical Center Foundation donation page.