November 01, 2017

UAB’s tiniest patients dress in Halloween costumes made by their parents

Written by
Video by: UAB Visual Content

Finding normalcy is sometimes difficult for parents of a baby in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Continuing Care Nursery, not to mention finding a Halloween costume that fits the tiny infant. The UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine program encourages new parents by providing outlets for them to create and provide for their newborns through arts and crafts activities like making their infant a Halloween costume to fit their tiny personality.

nicu 2“Creating a sense of normalcy is important for our patients and their families,” said Sandra Milstead, family nurse liaison in the UAB Women and Infants Center. “The Arts in Medicine programs that families participate in give them a chance to provide for their baby and socialize with other families that may be going through the same situation. Many of them spend weeks or months in our units, so creating a sense of community is important to each family’s overall health.”

Lillis Taylor, an artist in residence and professional artist working in sewing, textile design and embroidery, helps the new parents select and sew costumes for their little ones. The infants are then dressed in their costumes by their nurses, and photos are taken to capture the memory for the parents.

“Our work focuses on the needs of the whole person — mind, body and spirit. We use the arts and creativity to enhance wellness for our patients, families and staff at UAB,” said Kimberly Kirklin, director of UAB AIM. 

The program is a partnership between UAB Medicine and the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, and underscores UAB’s commitment to patient-centered care. AIM endeavors to enhance healing and wellness for patients through the arts. Piloted in 2013, AIM maintains a rotating schedule for a growing number of UAB Medicine units, including the Bone Marrow Transplant Intensive Care Unit, Heart/Lung Transplant ICU, Acute Care for Elders, Hematology/Oncology Infusion Therapy, Women and Infants Services/High-Risk Obstetrics, RNICU, CCN, and Center for Psychiatric Medicine. Learn more about the program or make a donation.