Eyes in the NICU
Newborn babies who need specialized medical care are often placed in a neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, for short. While the NICU provides top-notch treatment for the baby, many parents are stressed about not being able to be with their little ones 24/7. Now, technology is changing that, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Baby Weslie was born six weeks early with a condition that requires round the clock care in the hospital NICU. Being away from her new baby is tough for mom Whitney Broom, but this camera makes the situation a little easier.
“I go home most nights and when I’m home, I like to see my daughter,” explained Broom.
Broom can log in from an app for free and see Weslie any time of the day or night.
“I just like to check in on her. Usually, she’s sleeping. That makes me feel more comforted when I know she’s just sleeping,” Broom continued.
The hospital staff says NICU cameras have changed the game for families. The technology can be used by moms staying in the hospital or those who are discharged and go home at night.
Brittaney Lincoln, RNC-NIC, of UC San Diego Health said, “So, this allows them to have a way to connect with their baby without physically having to be there.”
The system also has functions to let parents speak to their babies and chat with the caregivers. In a review published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing, researchers found only a small portion of parents reported negative feedback. Overall, web-based cameras in the NICU enhanced parent-infant attachment and reduced parental stress and anxiety.
“Parents really find peace of mind in being able to check on their babies visibly while they’re away from the bedside,” shared Lincoln.
They also allow for distant family members to join in.
“I know my parents will have their morning coffee and sit and put her on their iPad and watch her,” Broom said.
Giving families a glimpse into their newborn’s world.
“So that just gives us a big comfort when we’re not able to be here,” smiled Broom.
The nurses at this hospital say the cameras don’t require any changes to their usual treatment plan other than they have to remember to turn them on. The nurses know that a family member is watching when the red light is blinking. Parents of the baby must sign a consent that they want to use the cameras. Right now, there are more than 80 hospitals using this camera system.
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