UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center Family Birthplace, Klein Family Harford Crisis Center Receive Grant from Close Foundation

Ken Ferrara, vice president and executive director of The Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation (left, first row), accepts a donation from The Albert P. Close Foundation from foundation board members Sarah Klein, Susan Roarty and Michele Wolbert, president and treasurer. In the second row are Tom Close, Megan Deacon, Mike Thatcher, Geoff Close, vice president, Mary Hatter, Charlie Keenan and Jay Joyner. In the third row are Bob Titelman, Chris vanRoden, secretary, and Judge William Carr. The donation is for the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center Family Birthplace’s Hold Them Close Program and The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center. (Photo Courtesy of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health)

University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center Family Birthplace and The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center have received a $22,500 grant from The Albert P. Close Foundation. Over the years, The Close Foundation has made grants totaling over $100,000 in support of programs for youth, adolescents and young adults at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH).

The Close Foundation grant enables the Family Birthplace’s Hold Them Close program to allow substance-exposed newborns to room with their families, rather than go to the Special Care Nursery at 24 hours of life. The program assists with early intervention, access to services and long-term follow up to help newborns and their families be successful at home.

The grant also provides young adult and adolescent support to The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center by partially funding a therapist. This financial support will also help to provide care in the coming year for more than 900 pediatric guests through the Center’s walk-in urgent care and more than 850 young individuals through its outpatient clinic.

“We are so grateful to The Close Foundation for their long-term partnership and support of our work,” said Elizabeth Wise, FACHE, MSN, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health. “Their generosity to the Family Birthplace and the Crisis Center is a wonderful example of the support our medical system receives from the community for vital programs that allow us to enhance care for a very vulnerable population of patients.”

Over the past two years, The Close Foundation funding has supported 40 patients and families by providing needed equipment and supplies as part of UM UCH’s Hold Them Close program.

In addition to the option to stay with their newborn during the withdrawal process, parents also receive one-on-one safety teaching by a nurse and are presented with a swaddle sleep slack to promote safe sleeping at home. Mimicking a swaddle—the practice of wrapping up a baby in a light, breathable blanket—these two-in-one swaddles often come with Velcro, snaps or zippers to give the baby a snug fit. Infants going through withdrawal typically love to be swaddled as it helps them feel safe and can minimize tremors or jerks. Families also receive information about various topics including safe sleep, shaken baby prevention, home safety, car seat safety, the importance of reading to the baby and CPR/choking.

Upon hospital discharge, each family in the program receives a Hold Them Close safety bag with various items (including massage oils, books and personal hygiene supplies) to help them cope with stressors at home.

Benefits of the program over the past two years include increased family bonding, increased parent presence, decreased measurable withdrawal symptoms, decreased use of morphine and secondary medications, decrease in the length of stay in the hospital and no increase in readmission of newborns after discharge.

Future plans for the Hold Them Close program include adding darkening blinds and rocker/lounger chairs in the rooms; connecting families to car seats, baby supplies and cribs before leaving the hospital; and partnering with community resources for follow-up and long-term care and with new treatment providers to ensure early interventions and good prenatal care.

About University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health
University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, part of the University of Maryland Medical System, includes the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and the Patricia D. and M. Scot Kaufman Cancer Center on its Bel Air campus. Most recently, it opened The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center in Bel Air offering services for behavioral health. The Senator Bob Hooper House in Forest Hill is an assisted living facility that specializes in hospice. The University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital has been operating in the community for over a century and is located in Havre de Grace. The leading health care system and the second largest private employer in Harford County, UM Upper Chesapeake Health offers a broad range of health care services, specialty care, technology and facilities to the residents of northeastern Maryland. Visit for more information.

About the University of Maryland Medical System

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is an academic private health system, focused on delivering compassionate, high quality care and putting discovery and innovation into practice at the bedside. Partnering with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and University of Maryland, Baltimore who educate the state’s future health care professionals, UMMS is an integrated network of care, delivering 25 percent of all hospital care in urban, suburban and rural communities across the state of Maryland. UMMS puts academic medicine within reach through primary and specialty care delivered at 11 hospitals, including the flagship University of Maryland Medical Center, the System’s anchor institution in downtown Baltimore, as well as through a network of University of Maryland Urgent Care centers and more than 150 other locations in 13 counties. For more information, visit

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