Journal of Perinatology (2015) 35, S9–S13. doi:10.1038/jp.2015.143

Recommendations for peer-to-peer support for NICU parents

S L Hall1, D J Ryan2, J Beatty3 and L Grubbs4

  1. 1Division of Neonatology, St John’s Regional Medical Center, Oxnard, CA, USA
  2. 2School of Nursing, Elmira College, Elmira, NY, USA
  3. 3Program Director, Hand to Hold, Austin, TX, USA
  4. 4Founder and President, NICU Helping Hands, Fort Worth, TX, USA

Correspondence: Dr SL Hall, Division of Neonatology, St John's Regional Medical Center, 1600 N. Rose Avenue, Oxnard, CA 93030, USA. E-mail:

Received 2 September 2015; Accepted 18 September 2015



Peer-to-peer support provided by ‘veteran’ neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) parents to those with current NICU babies is a legitimate and unique form of support that can complement or supplement, but not replace, services provided by professional NICU staff. Peer support can be delivered through hospital- or community-based programs that offer one-to-one in-person or telephone matches, or support groups that meet in-person or via the Internet. Issues in program development, volunteer training and program operation are discussed. Recommendations for offering peer support to all NICU parents as an integral component of family-centered care and comprehensive family support are presented.