Updated: Sep 30, 2019
By Erica Rzepecki.
For many parents of preemies in the NICU, leaving their baby’s side to attend to their work, family, and personal needs can be a guilt-inducing and anxiety-provoking necessity. They can even feel helpless whenever they’re unable to check in on their baby to know that they’re okay.
In response to these concerns, Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital has implemented a new technology to help give their NICU parents the peace of mind that comes with watching over their baby, without them having to physically be there at all hours of the day: NICView cameras.
These cameras may be small, but the impact they have on families can be wonderful. In the Royal University Hospital, NICU families can sign up to have their baby recorded by one of the NICU’s twenty NICView cameras. These cameras attach to the baby’s bed and are angled to capture the best view of that baby as they lay in their incubator. The video feeds into a secure online system that the family can access on any internet-connected device of their choosing, anywhere in the world, simply by using their login credentials on the feed’s website.
This allows NICU parents to “step away from the bedside, and still feel contact with the baby,” says Adele Riehl, Manager of the NICU & NICU Transport at the Royal University Hospital.
Especially in a crowded NICU like theirs, where parents are required to step out during rounds so that there’s space for the doctors to get around, these cameras are essential for making any necessary distance more comfortable for parents.
Riehl also notes that many parents come from all over Saskatchewan to stay in the Royal University Hospital’s NICU, and sometimes need to make a trip back home to take care of their other children, go to work, or for farming families, tend to their crops. The NICView allows them to do this while still being in-the-know about their baby’s well-being.
In addition, many parents have family members who live internationally or out of the region who are not able to visit the new baby in person. Since the login credentials are unique to each family, they can share them with anyone they like so that others can see their baby no matter where they live, helping them to feel a part of the experience.
While some doctors were apprehensive about the additional surveillance the cameras might provide, and the added scrutiny that they might be under, the hospital mandates that the cameras are turned off while the baby is being cared for – both for the doctor’s comfort and the baby’s privacy. Now, the doctors in the hospital love the system, and love seeing the positive impact it has on NICU families.
Riehl reminisced on the first time the cameras were used. She remembers that the preemie’sparents were new to Canada and were ecstatic to be able to share the live video of their baby with their family around the world instead of just through photos.
In another case, while one baby’s mom went to get a meal from the hospital cafeteria, the doctors put a note on the baby’s blanket that said “Hey Mom! I can go home today!” The mother logged onto the server to check on her baby while she ate and read the exciting news from the lunch table.
The NICView cameras were brought into the hospital after a generous donation from Bloom,a non-profit charity that raises money for this NICU, which was started by mothers of preemies who had stayed there and wanted to give back. For more information on NICView cameras, take a look at their website: https://nicview.natus.com
Nurtured in the NICU stories created by the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation to highlight the wonderful work of doctors, nurses, and parent volunteers in Canada’s NICUs. For more information or if you would like to share an initiative happening in your NICU, please send us an email at email@example.com.