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Saskatchewan Families First in Canada to have Live Webcam Access to their NICU Infants

It’s a motion picture event that warms the heart of any parent. Thanks to a donation from local community fundraiser Bloom towards Saskatchewan’s Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation, newborn babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) can now be watched over by family members at any moment.

“We are thrilled that this baby-friendly technology has been brought into Saskatchewan and our Children’s Services so that our families can feel at ease while their baby receives medical attention,” says Dr. Laurence Givelichian, Head of Pediatrics at University of Saskatchewan. “Thanks to this family-centred experience, parents with a newborn baby in the NICU will no longer be imagining the worst and will feel as if they are with their baby every minute. This is today’s ultimate family-friendly experience.”

The world-class technology, called NICVIEW, was installed into 10 NICU incubators last week and is a first in Canada, putting Saskatchewan at the forefront of care. The bedside cameras webcams give families a view of what goes on inside their baby’s incubator. Having a NICView camera has helped NICU mom Ashley Taylor to feel more involved with her baby, Maisy, who was born premature at 26 weeks and five days:

“Not being able to see her was the hardest part, there’s a lot of anxiety. It’s made a big difference for us when we wake up in the middle of the night and we’re able to check on her in the morning,” explains Ashley.

Bloom, an initiative that began with two NICU moms, held its annual fundraising dinner, “An Evening of Love”, on May 13, 2017 which helped fund the NICVIEW webcams. Since 2011, Bloom has been committed to giving back to the NICU staff that they refer to as ‘Angels on Earth’ and have raised over $198,000 to support current NICU needs.

Each milestone, progression and movement that baby makes will be broadcasted on the family’s screen, giving them a clear image of moment by moment activity, but exactly how does it work?

First, families can decide if they want to view their baby on a mobile device on the go, or on a large desktop screen at home. Next, they can login to the online software and type in their NICU-issued user name and password to get a live, unobstructed view of their baby. The live-stream is only accessible to specified users and is protected by encrypted transmissions.

“Day by day, it’s an up and down roller coaster,” says Ashley. “Maisy recently had surgery so when we went home we were able to see how she was doing in the middle of the night and didn’t feel like we had to rush back to her right away to see what was going on.”

“We genuinely thank everyone who has supported our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit designative fund, including everyone involved in the Bloom fundraiser,” says Brynn Boback-Lane, President and CEO of Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. “The support we receive has helped fund a life-changing experience and makes this cutting-edge piece of NICU equipment a reality in Canada and in the province of Saskatchewan. As a mother to a NICU newborn myself, this kind of technology would have helped our own family to better understand the incredible work of those who help our babies. We are so grateful to those who have donated and made this opportunity possible for new families throughout Saskatchewan.”

Holding onto hope is sometimes difficult for parents with a baby in intensive care, but now in Saskatchewan, they can carry hope with them wherever they go. It’s a simple yet groundbreaking solution that eases distress for families who are in need of reassurance that their baby is making progress.

In the new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital set to open in 2019, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will be located on the top floor with a panoramic view of the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon. Currently, families and their newborns share space side by side in open bays. Come 2019 in the new facility, each baby and family will have their own private room and a dedicated sleep area for families to rest away from baby’s room while remaining close by.

To support the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, you can donate to Saskatchewan’s Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation NICU designated fund by clicking on “designated funds” at pattisonchildrens.ca/donate

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