Child Health, News Tamar Raucher | 6 years ago

Bonding With Baby

Having a new baby is both exciting and exhausting. But when your baby is spending time in a neonatal intensive care nursery, it can also be scary and stressful.

To help provide parents peace of mind during this frightening time, the neonatal intensive care and neonatal progressive care units at Levine Children’s Hospital recently began offering a new way for parents to check in on their little ones. A secure, private webcam system has been installed at each infant’s bedside, to offer parents password-protected, real-time video of their baby when they can’t be at the hospital. For first-time parents Edwin and Audrey Vincent, the new system offers great reassurance. “The evening [when they go home] is the hardest part of the day,” Audrey says. “So, being able to see her, to see her face and to see how she’s doing brings us comfort.” The proud new parents visit their daughter Karissa daily, but when Edwin had to stay late at work one night and wasn’t able to make it to the hospital, he was still able to check in with his phone. “I had my phone set up right on my keyboard and I was able to peek in on her and see how she was doing,” he says. For a new parent, any time away from their sick baby is difficult, and many patients make the trip to Levine Children’s Hospital multiple times a day. But the hospital cares for neonatal patients from across the region, and some parents can’t make the trip as often as they’d like. “Because Levine Children’s Hospital is the referral center for the region, we have a lot of families that travel hours to come here,” says Ashleigh Fritz, nurse manager for the hospital’s progressive care unit. “Before, they could call to check on their baby, but this gives them the opportunity to actually see their baby.” The webcam system also gives relatives who aren’t able to be physically present the chance to meet their newest family member. In order to keep NICN babies from getting sicker, neonatal nurseries have limited visitation to siblings at certain times of the year – such as cold and flu season. “And we have a lot of grandparents from out of the state or even the country who have met their grandchildren through the webcam system,” Fritz says. “The system was installed thanks to donors including Cottie & Cake Fund, which was established in memory of a child who was treated in the Levine Children’s Hospital NICN,” says Mark Griffith, director, Carolinas HealthCare Foundation. Funding was also contributed by community partners such as the Michelle Bridges Foundation and a grant from the Philip L. Van Every Foundation.  

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