A new video messaging service is being used at Royal Preston Hospital, which helps to enhance family bonds and ease the stress and anxiety caused to families who are separated from their premature and unwell babies.
Secured by funding from the Baby Beat charity at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, vCreate allows staff on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to record short video updates of babies for parents to watch when they are unable to be on the unit. Used by new parents, siblings and other family members, the service is providing reassurance and peace of mind at what is a very difficult time.
Baby Beat Appeal Manager, Cathy Skidmore, said: “When it just isn’t possible for parents to take their new baby home straight away, it can be really emotionally distressing for families. The vCreate service means that when parents and other family members can’t be on the unit, they can still feel connected to their new arrival. Parents can watch the videos at any time and on any device, as well as being able to download the videos and access a baby care video diary to keep a log of their baby’s progress. This has been particularly beneficial recently, with many parents needing to spend more time at home with their other children while schools have been closed.”
“Our neonatal staff are committed to ensuring families are as connected as possible when they can’t be on the unit, and this is one lovely way in which they can make that happen.”
Joanne Smith, Matron on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The vCreate service is a brilliant way of helping parents to feel connected to their babies when they can’t be on the unit. To be away from your baby is extremely difficult, but to know they are receiving excellent care and seeing their baby on a video provides some comfort for families. We as a team are doing our utmost to ensure families stay updated on their baby’s care and progress, keeping that strong connection going until it’s time for them to be together at home.”
To access the service, parents register for a vCreate account, and can then receive 30-second videos which are recorded on a unit-approved device with a camera. The videos contain no clinical information, are stored securely and parents receive email or SMS updates to say a new video has been made available to them. Staff on the unit are able to track when videos are being watched, who by, for how long and on which device, for auditing purposes.