The Early Birth Association keeps families together through new technology system introduced to neonatal units
Published 24th June 2020
The Early Birth Association is proud to announce we are helping to keep families together through a new technology system introduced to neonatal units. 💛
As part of our ongoing commitment to keep families of premature and sick babies together, we have introduced a new video system to the neonatal units at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals, facilitating the sharing of updates, milestones and precious memories of babies to parents unable to be at their side.
Further heightened by the Coronavirus pandemic, the vCreate system has been a major part of connecting parents and their vulnerable babies at a time when family visits are limited, helping to reduce stress and anxiety at what is an extraordinarily difficult time. Supported by this new technology, The EBA has so far helped over 80 families since the launch in March across the two units it supports; the Trevor Mann Baby Unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, and the Special Care Baby Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath. The vCreate system will remain at both units so that parents have access to treasured moments in their babies’ lives, whenever they cannot be with them.
Administered by unit staff, the vCreate platform allows for the sharing of secure video updates to parents, minimising separation anxiety and increasing mental wellbeing. Along with keeping families connected, it allows for health and care updates to be shared in the form of 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 undergone training in order 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-Chair 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.”
Stuart McClean, Director of vCreate, “We are very grateful to the Early Birth Association for choosing to support the vCreate initiative. Their support will enable us to provide the service at no cost to the unit or to parents and it will allow us to continue to enhance the service we provide. We know that vCreate is greatly valued by parents, and with current visiting restrictions in place, now more than ever.”
vCreate is the NHS Trusted secure cloud-based video platform, used in over 100 NHS neonatal and paediatric intensive care units across the UK. The platform provides secure video updates to parents of poorly or premature babies and children, minimising separation anxiety and increasing mental wellbeing. Along with keeping families connected, it allows for health and care updates to be shared, which is even more critical in this current global crisis when most family visits to hospitals are limited.
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