Parents of Richmond Hospital’s smallest patients gain new connections
Being the parents of a premature or sick newborn is a very stressful experience, especially when an infant needs to be admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after the parent is discharged. Physical separation adds to the anxiety that parents go through in this difficult time.
To better connect families with their premature infants, Richmond Hospital announced the launch of the first initiative of its kind in B.C. Parents can now monitor and virtually visit their premature infant 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a private and secure live-streaming camera. The hospital’s NICU first installed the cameras at the infant bedsides as part of a pilot project in June 2022.
Since the pilot first began, the NICU has virtually connected over 40 babies and their families, facilitating over 2,500 unique visits from across the world including Colombia, the Philippines and Ireland. In a survey of families who used the technology, 100 per cent of participants stated it decreased their level of anxiety and helped them to bond with their baby.
Since the pilot first began, the NICU has virtually connected over 40 babies and their families, facilitating over 2,500 unique visits from across the world including Colombia, the Philippines and Ireland.
Based on positive feedback from families, the secure camera system will remain a permanent fixture at the hospital’s NICU.
As the average length of stay in the Richmond Hospital NICU stands at two weeks, many families who cannot stay with their infant continuously have this alternative option to connect with them.
Speaking about the initiative, Jill Schulmeister, Women’s and Children's Program Manager at Richmond Hospital said, “No parent expects to have to leave the hospital without their baby and, sadly, this is the reality for those with babies who need specialized care after birth. Seeing the emotional toll this separation has on parents, the NICU team wanted to find a way to keep families and babies connected, even when they are not physically together.”
"As a parent, it gave our family significant comfort and reassurance to be able to check in on our babies while we were not by their bedsides. I am so grateful that this option was available to us and will be an option for other families with premature babies.”
– Preethi Krishan, parent of twin babies who received care at Richmond Hospital’s NICU