Things were going fine for first time mommy, Ashlyn Higgins. But then baby Benson decided to come while Ashley’s parents were out of the country on a trip.
It also happened to be right in the middle of Ashlyn’s finals week, and she didn’t have the house quite ready yet.
In an already stressful time, Ashlyn found great reassurance thanks to a camera system recently installed at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital called NicView.
NicView is a national service which allows live streaming from a hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), giving family members who can not be there physically a chance to see the baby virtually via a live stream that can be accessed by any device connected to the internet.
“We were one of the first to use NicView (at Owensboro Health), so we felt very blessed to be able to have it,” Ashlyn told Owensboro Living after a press conference this morning at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital announcing the new technology.
NicView access also meant Ashlyn’s parents could see Benson during his six-day stay in the NICU while they were on their trip.
But more importantly, NicView gave Ashlyn a sense of constant connection with Benson.
“It was very reassuring, and it helped alleviate my anxiety because being in that atmosphere, you’re already so nervous anyway. I wanted him to progress to the next step until he could be released to go home. I kept him up on my phone so I could see him everywhere I went, so I felt like I was with him all the time.”
Dr. Bridget Burshears, NICU Medical Director, says that is the most common response from parents who have used NicView so far. “It gives parents a sense of relief to be able to check in on their baby at any time. Parents tell us it helps them feel like they can continue with their other responsibilites while their baby is still in NICU.”
Nurses are excited about using NicView, too. “Our nurses are very excited to be able to offer this technology – especially when we see how the families are reacting to it,” Dr. Burshears said. “Anything we can do to help our patients makes us happy.”
Since opening in 2010, Owensboro Health NICU has cared for over 1,000 babies. “As our NICU has grown, we continually see the need for technology like this to serve our families, especially since we are seeing more patients from further away (from Owensboro),” Dr. Burshears explained.
Owensboro Health now has Level III certification, which means they can care for infants born as early as 27 weeks with no weight limit. NicView has been up and running for two months. All 20 of the hospital’s licensed Level III NICU single-family rooms have been equipped to provide NicView.
The service was funded by the Owensboro Health Foundation, which provided $50,700 for equipment, installation, training and a one-year service contract.
“Families of babies in the NICU are faced with unique challenges,” said Pat Serey, executive director of the Owensboro Health Foundation. “We are pleased to be able to help them overcome one of those challenges by providing funding for the NicView camera system. This service allows parents, siblings, grandparents and other extended family members to connect with these babies during those times when the family members are unable to be physically present.”
Benson is home now and doing fine, by the way.