In Georgia, parents whose babies are fighting for their lives in the NICU have the ability to stay close, thanks to cameras that provide live webcam access. WellStar Health System is a non-profit health organization operating hospitals in the Atlanta, Georgia area, and had the first hospital to offer the video services to patients in 2016.
For many parents with babies in the NICU, it’s not always possible to stay at the hospital night and day, especially when they have older children to care for. And it’s not unusual for parents in this situation to feel immense guilt over having to choose which child to spend time with. But that burden can be lifted at least a little with the ability for parents to check in.
“We are always looking for new ways to enhance the care experience and find ways to improve the lives of our patients and families,” Dan Woods, president of WellStar Kennestone Hospital, told the Marietta Daily Journal. “Our skilled caregivers are now able to utilize the most innovative technology to complement the caring compassion we have for our patients. This will have an immediate impact on many families.”
The cameras are mounted in each baby’s bed and they transmit the images securely to a computer, phone, or tablet.
“Although there is nothing that can replace personal contact with a newborn infant, it is not always possible to be present,” Carole Harman, executive director of nursing for Women’s and Children’s Services at WellStar Kennestone, told the Mariette Daily Journal. “With NICVIEW, we are able to unite parents, siblings and grandparents to the baby through a live feed camera system; it’s technology that connects families’ hearts.”
NICUs across the country are making efforts to help families weather the difficult experience. There’s an app that plays the mother’s heartbeat to soothe premature babies, and music therapy offers comforting songs created from the baby’s heartbeat. NICU staff and volunteers help the babies and their families celebrate the holidays with Halloween costumes and visits from Santa Claus.
There isn’t much that can be done to make time in the NICU better, but hospitals across the country are doing what they can to make it a little bit easier for families, and the tiny babies they love.
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