When Stephanie and Michael Maguigan’s son Noah came into the world six weeks early, Stephanie was able to hold him for only a moment before he was whisked off to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Christiana Hospital for highly specialized care. Because of the medication she was prescribed to stabilize her blood pressure, Stephanie was confined to her hospital bed over the next two days and couldn’t visit her newborn. The first-time parents were ecstatic to learn that the NICVIEW camera system — installed just a few weeks before their son’s birth — would allow them to watch baby Noah 24/7 through a live video feed during his stay in the NICU.
Christiana Hospital is the first in Delaware and only the 19th in the U.S. to install the NICVIEW camera system in its NICU. This progressive technology enables the loved ones of a newborn receiving care in the NICU to view the baby anytime, day or night, through a private, secure video stream from any Web enabled device.
“The cameras made all the difference in the world,” said Michael Maguigan. “There is so much anxiety when you have a child in the NICU. To be able to look in on Noah at any moment using the NICVIEW camera relieved the anxiety. The opportunity for family across the globe to see our son was wonderful for all of us.”
Sixty of a total of 72 cameras have been installed at each individual bassinet in the NICU. The additional 12 babycams will be installed on the pediatrics floor to accommodate the loved ones of babies who have been discharged from the NICU but still require a longer hospital stay. The average stay for a baby needing NICU care is 17 days, and can run from 48 hours to eight months.
Following Stephanie’s release from the hospital, the Maguigans visited Noah in the NICU every day. When they couldn’t be there, they would stay close to Noah through virtual visits on their cell phones, laptop and desktop computer.
At Christiana Hospital to date, 17,000 babycam logins have been recorded from 31 U.S. states and eight countries including Aruba, India, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines and Singapore. “And we expect those numbers to keep on climbing,” said Karen Haritakis, MSN, RN, CNML, clinical operations director of the NICU and Pediatrics at Christiana Hospital.
The NICVIEW Camera System is fully HIPAA compliant, and images are never recorded or stored. User names and passwords are issued by the hospital only to the parents, who can choose to share access with loved ones. The video stream can be accessed 24/7.
“The babycams enable parents to bond with their babies even when they cannot be by their side,” said David A. Paul, M.D., chair of Pediatrics. “Being able to provide this technology takes our patient- and family-centered approach to the care of babies and their parents to an even greater level.”
On September 23, Christiana Hospital hosted a reception to celebrate the launch of the babycams and to express appreciation to the nearly 200 donors who made the initiative possible — including a number of children who held letter-writing campaigns, car washes, a karate “kick-a-thon” and other fundraisers. Donors raised more than $182,000 in just a few months, surpassing the campaign’s goal of $147,000. The surplus is earmarked for related staff training.
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More than two dozen of the campaign donors and Christiana Care leaders attended the reception, where NICU assistant nurse manager Susan Foster, BSN, RN, demonstrated the babycam technology, and two new mothers shared heartfelt stories about the extraordinary impact of the NICVIEW technology on their families.
Their remarks especially resonated with Tina Hayward, a member of the Christiana Care Board of Trustees and the catalyst behind the babycam campaign.
“It’s so exciting to see this project come to fruition,” said Hayward. “It has been a real grassroots effort — and a true team effort. To see so many supporters— especially the children — get involved in raising funds to help our smallest patients and their families is incredibly special. And the gratitude and enthusiasm expressed by our new moms says it all. We’re so very thankful to everyone involved in bringing the babycams to our NICU at Christiana Hospital.”
Christiana Hospital is the only high-risk delivering hospital in Delaware offering Level III neonatal intensive care. Approximately 1,200 newborns receive treatment at Christiana Hospital each year, representing one of the highest-volume NICUs in the nation.