The South Georgia Medical Center is keeping families and new babies connected in the time of COVID, even when they are physically apart.
The system is called AngelEye and at its heart is a 24/7 camera keeping a watchful eye over babies in the hospital. Parents can tune in at any time to see their little one in a secure app which also includes a way for doctors and nurses to text updates, record video, and take pictures. This can be a godsend for parents who live far away from the hospital, or for siblings and grandparents unable to visit the baby because of COVID restrictions. Plus, parents don’t need to wait to get to the hospital to receive daily updates on their baby. For parents who cannot physically be with their babies due to health reasons, AngelEye offers them a feeling of connection.
“This is especially beneficial for parents with babies in the NICU [neonatal intensive care unit]. Leaving a newborn at the hospital can be very challenging for working parents and remote families,” hospital officials said, according to the Valdosta Daily Times. “Virtual care technology can make a big difference in allowing parents 24/7 access to their newborn ensuring more effective collaboration between care teams and families.”
“Parents tell us that this is the next best thing to being there and really reduces anxiety as they can check in whenever they want,” said Peggy Knight, RN, the hospital’s director of women’s and infants services.
South Georgia is one of the most recent hospital systems to implement AngelEye, but others have benefited as well. Penn State’s Children’s Hospital was able to purchase 56 AngelEye cameras in December 2020 with a grant from Children’s Miracle Network. One family told Penn State Health News they loved being able to watch the 24/7 “Penelope Show” of their baby girl Penelope Nelson, and it helped to keep them connected through her recovery from surgeries to fix her cleft palate and clubbed foot.
A grant from Pampers allowed the NICU at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville to buy the cameras as well. “About 35% to 40% of our families come from outlying hospitals or transferred here and so many of our families live hours away,” UVA NICU Medical Director Jonathan Swanson said to NBC29. Swanson also pointed out the mental health benefits for parents and improved bonding between parents and children.
Loa was born at just 24 weeks at Nemours A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. Now she is four months old and is still receiving care in the NICU. “She’s still our child and we want to have eyes on her as much as we can,” her father, Justin Harrell told 6ABC. “It makes me happy to know that she’s happy and to be able to just look at her and see her face.”
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