The Early Birth Association has funded the vCreate video system to work alongside the iPads that the charity bought for the Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton and Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.
Together, they help parents stay better connected to their babies when they are unable to be there, which is particularly needed during the pandemic.
The EBA said it had so far helped 80 families across the two units, facilitating the sharing of updates, milestones and precious memories of babies to parents unable to be at their side.
Administered by unit staff, the technology allows for the sharing of secure video updates to parents, minimising separation anxiety and increasing mental wellbeing.
It also allows for health and care updates to be shared as short video recordings, building over time to create a secure online video diary, which can then be downloaded and kept by the family when their child leaves hospital care.
Staff on both units have had training to use the system and ensure that parents and their families are able to benefit from precious moments that would otherwise go unshared.
Claire Hunt, neonatal matron at the Trevor Mann Baby Unit, said: “Introducing the new vCreate system has been revolutionary for maintaining that critical link between parent and baby, when they are unable to be together as a family.
“This is already an intensely difficult time for any family on the unit, which has only been heightened over the last few months, but we are already seeing the hugely positive difference it is making to parents, who have remarked that it has reduced their anxiety and provided more peace of mind when they are unable to be at their baby’s bedside.”
Thanks to public support for its recent fundraising campaign, The EBA has supplied eight iPads which are now working in conjunction with vCreate at both units, so that parents have the best possible access to their babies in difficult circumstances, and can share in those special early moments together.
Heidi Crawford, co-chairman of The Early Birth Association and former parent on TMBU, said: “Having a child on the neonatal unit is one of the most stressful experiences a parent will have to face, and the limitations on being with your baby night and day, even in more settled times, can have a devastating effect on mental health.
“Whilst nothing will replace the human touch, providing an opportunity for parents to stay updated with their child’s progress and to remain a part of their care, even when they cannot be there in person, is absolutely vital in creating early parent-child experiences and in forming a critical family bond.”
For more information or to support the Early Birth Association, please visit: https://www.earlybirth.co.uk/.
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