Parents of premature babies in Lancashire will be sent pictures and videos to help then keep in touch with their newborn around the clock.
Staff on the neonatal unit at Royal Preston Hospital have introduced a new secure video messaging technology on the unit called vCreate.
The system allows clinical staff to record and send videos and photo updates to parents whose babies are on the neonatal unit.
Parents can access these updates via an app while they are away from the unit and they are designed to provide reassurance of their baby’s wellbeing.
A video diary builds up over time which parents can access 24 hours a day.
Once the child has been discharged from hospital, parents can download the videos to keep and the videos are then removed from the system.
Speaking about how they have used the vCreate service when their son was on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, one couple said: “Me and my wife would just like to say that we both think that vCreate is a wonderful idea.
“It has helped us through a difficult time and it has helped the other kids – we enjoy getting the pictures and videos of him and it really helps that we can see he is doing OK when we are back home, since we can’t just go to the hospital and see him whenever we would like to.”
Lisa Brady, neonatal sister at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, said: “We are so excited to have launched the vCreate service onto our neonatal unit, and hope that it will help to reduce some of the separation anxiety and worries which new parents are bound to have.
“This launch is just a small part of the work that we have been doing to ensure families are involved with their babies as much as possible.
“We will eventually be looking to use vCreate as a content hub for parent communications such as having the ability to meet the team, and watch educational videos. vCreate also supports family integrated care and will enable siblings and extended family to become more involved early on too.”
Karen Entwistle, Baby Beat Manager, said: “It it is an extremely stressful time for parents and this equipment will allow parents of premature and sick infants to receive video updates of their child, provide reassurance and help reduce anxiety during their separation.“
The service launch was time to help mark World Prematurity Day, an annual campaign which aims to raise awareness of premature births and the impact that these can have on families, and to work with partners around the world to try to prevent premature births.