Newborn Hesston Felix Douglas Anchustegui left the St. Luke’s Nampa neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) this week at the head of his own parade.
Tiffany and Steve Anchustegui’s son was born Jan. 25 at 34 weeks. He spent several weeks in the NICU before he was finally cleared for discharge.
Clapping nurses and doctors lined the hallway as the family slowly wheeled the sleeping baby out of the Women’s Services Unit in a brand-new Radio Flyer wagon.
The red wagon parade is a dream for Registered Nurse Carrie Bohanan. She had shared the idea with friends living in California and they donated the wagon to the hospital. The couple was inspired by the St. Luke’s Nampa NICU care model.
At St. Luke’s Nampa, NICU babies and their moms room together in specially designed suites. Nurses are crossed-trained to provide specialized care for the family.
“They thought it was amazing that the Nampa families aren’t separated from their babies,” Bohanan said. “They are supporting the concept.”
The red wagon parade provides closure for families and hospital staff.
“It brings attention to this baby’s graduation from the NICU,” Bohanan said, who is so committed to the program that she personally assembled the wagon. She pays the same level of personal attention to her patients.
The Anchusteguis are grateful for the expertise of the nurses and the opportunity to receive care close to home.
“We had such a great experience here at this hospital,” Tiffany Anchustegui said. “Everyone here is so welcoming and answered every question we had at any time, and they let dad be involved in everything. I loved every single nurse we have had. They all treated Hesston like he was their own.”
Families and nurses develop a strong bond in the NICU, Chanette Fretwell, manager of nursing and patient care in the St. Luke’s Nampa Women’s Unit, said.
“A lot of NICU babies spend a lot of time here. Our nurses get close with the babies and the families,” she said.
“The red wagon parade celebrates the care they receive and successfully going home,” Fretwell said. “It gives all of the staff a chance to celebrate with the family. It’s a really nice way to say goodbye.
This right-of-passage will be available to all babies and families graduating from the St. Luke’s Nampa NICU.
Amy Stahl works in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.