Story by: Jennifer Reynolds on January 7, 2019
Lindsay and David Rogers know what it feels like to leave a piece of their hearts in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) every time they had to say goodbye to their baby, Liam.
Born 16 weeks early, Liam spent the first three months of his life in the Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital NICU.
The reality of a long stay in the NICU means parents need to get back to their families at home, jobs and other responsibilities. That separation causes more stress at an already challenging time.
The Level IV NICU at Norton Children’s Hospital and the Level III NICU at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital have equipped many beds with video cameras to help families like the Rogerses stay connected to their newborns. Parents and loved ones can see their baby any time, day or night.
Called NicView, the video system works like a streaming webcam. A small camera is attached to the bed above or to the side of your baby. For privacy, the camera shows live video only — no audio and no recording. Parents also have the option to turn the camera off.
“It’s wonderful,” Lindsay said. “It made going back to work so much easier.”
Lindsay chose to postpone her maternity leave so she could spend it with Liam at home rather than in the hospital. She and David frequently logged in from work to keep an eye on their little boy. The camera gave them peace of mind when they couldn’t visit the hospital.
NicView uses a secure, encrypted connection, much like what banking websites use. Parents receive a special login code just for their baby to use at Nicview.net. They may share the login information and password with other family members as they wish.
Community support helped make the NicView cameras possible, but more are needed so that every baby in the Norton Children’s NICUs can have one. Call the Children’s Hospital Foundation to learn how you can help
Both of Liam’s grandmothers had access to NicView and used it when they are unable to go to the hospital.
“It’s also a solution for relatives who live far away or parents stationed overseas in the military,” said Margaret Dry, R.N., NICU nurse at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital. “One of the greatest advantages of this technology is it takes some of that separation anxiety away.”
NicView allows caregivers to send notes to parents, too.
“We can send weight updates and feeding updates, so parents don’t have to call to get them,” Margaret said. “I know my parents’ viewing schedule, so I can send updates or notes of encouragement when they are up in the middle of the night.”
Lindsay said she loved getting personalized notes about Liam from the nurses she grew close to during his time in the NICU.
A grant from the Children’s Hospital Foundation, with support from the Trager Family Foundation, Norton Children’s Hospital Auxiliary and Texas Roadhouse, paid for the NicView equipment.
“Recognizing the important role families play in a child’s healing is crucial,” said Lynnie Meyer, R.N., Ed.D., CFRE, senior vice president and chief development officer, Norton Healthcare. “We are grateful to our donors for helping make these cameras possible so that family bonds can remain strong through difficult times.”