Infant massage’s benefits are many, especially for preterm babies. In late April the American Hospital Association (AHA) honored an infant massage program with one of four Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence (HAVE) at its annual membership meeting.

AN AHA press release noted, “The AHA HAVE Awards Program … highlights the extraordinary efforts of volunteer programs and the positive impact their contributions have on the patients, hospitals, health systems and the communities they serve.”

The winners fall into four categories: community service programs; in-service hospital volunteer programs; fundraising programs; and community outreach and/or collaboration programs.

The recipient for the In-Service Hospital Volunteer Programs award is the Infant Massage Volunteer Group of Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan. The group provides massage to premature infants through a partnership with Creative Wellness, a local massage company.

“The massage professionals offered training and education to community volunteers and the nursing staff,” the press release noted. “The members of the Infant Massage volunteer group handle their own scheduling, volunteer leaders organize annual trainings, and the more experienced volunteers mentor newer members.

“There is also close teamwork and excellent communication between the nursing staff and volunteers to ensure safe delivery of care for all patients. The Infant Massage Volunteer Group is a unique program that impacts the most vulnerable—premature infants.”