Our Obstetrics Stories

Sierra Vista NICU Parents Stay Connected to Their Babies with NicView Technology

Dec 9, 2021
nicview Courtesy Natus Medical, Inc.

For physicians and their patients who have a newborn requiring intensive care, the hardest part is often the feeling of the baby being isolated from the parents. This parental stress is not only acute but studies have shown that it can influence long-term parenting behavior and child development.

That’s why Tenet Health Central Coast is proud to announce that its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center – the only Level III NICU in San Luis Obispo County – is now utilizing a research-proven innovation that helps parents and loved ones feel connected with their newborn, even when they are physically separate. Sierra Vista now has the NicView live-stream camera system that allows parents to view their baby from anywhere in the world by computer or mobile device.

This new connectivity tool is a virtual window into the baby’s bed in the NICU: Individual cameras are now mounted above the incubators, providing parents with secure real-time viewing of their newborn 24/7 (except at times when the baby is receiving care).

In the age of Covid-19, many have become blasé about video-call platforms like Zoom, FaceTime and other livestream tools, but for parents of babies that have to be in the NICU, this technology can be an emotional lifeline.

It means that parents can watch their children without taking time off from work. It also means they can see their child more often if there are transportation challenges. Importantly, during pandemic surges, it allows loved ones to see the child if visitors are limited.

NicView can be accessed via a laptop, smartphone, or tablet and the NicView connection streams securely, which includes no recordings. Login credentials ensure that parents are the only ones with access, and they have the control to share those login credentials with additional loved ones.

Not only does research and real-world, anecdotal evidence report that NicView helps make parents feel more connected to the medical team, thereby enhancing confidence in the care being provided, it shows health benefits for the baby and family.

For example, mothers report using video interactions to stimulate breast milk flow while pumping, and breast milk is an essential tool for the newborn’s growth and improvement. Recent research shows that mothers using the technology reported a sustained intention to breastfeed or provide breast milk to the baby (83% compared to 66% of mothers who did not use the technology).

Further, NICU nurses report that, even though the connection is virtual, the parent bonding is tangible and families can watch and learn their newborn’s routines in the NICU, helping to smooth the transition to life at home. These reports are supported by recent research with parents where there was a statistically significant increase in self-perceived parental involvement in their baby’s care.

In terms of impact on the stress facing parents of NICU babies, research published this year in the Journal of Perinatology found that parents’ perceptions of using this tool while their infants were in the NICU were consistently positive. In fact, stress scores for both mothers and fathers were significantly lower when they were using the NicView.

Sometimes our loved ones have to stay in the hospital and it can be particularly anguishing when a newborn is in intensive care and parents have to go home without their baby. It’s simply not possible to stay in the hospital with our loved ones 24/7 but, with NicView, parents can stay connected.

And, they can take heart that Tenet Health Central Coast is always there for them and their family, as a part of a Community Built on Care.

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