Local hospital’s NICU gets new technology, allowing families to stay connected

Local hospital’s NICU gets new technology, allowing families to stay connected

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph’s Neonatal ICU is using new technology to help families stay connected during the pandemic.

“Having limited visitation due to COVID-19 safety precautions has been difficult on everyone,” says neonatal nurse practitioner Becky Hopper, who has served in the NICU for 17 years. “With this new system, any family member they would like to have visit can do so virtually.”

The hospital installed 28 bedside NicView cameras, which allows families to watch newborns in real-time from home. Currently, due to COVID-19, the hospital is only allowing parents to have in-person visits.

One Wichita family of six said their baby was born seven weeks early and the new devices have helped their family bond with their newest family member.

“It’s one thing to have pictures and videos but having the live stream really helps them see him and if he does something funny or makes a face or kind of rolls around it gets them excited to get to see their little brother,” said Gabe McKeever, Wichita dad.

The hospital said the cameras are similar to baby monitors. Parents can go home and watch their baby from any device that connects to the internet. Families use a password-protected portal, which they can share with extended family members. Parents can see when other family members are watching and even communicate messages to hospital staff through the portal.

“We have a text string with all of our family members so we were able to share the information with them and it’s so fun because if we log on it will tell us you know grandfathers watching, aunt is watching,” said Tasha McKeever, Wichita mom.

McKeever said the new technology has even given her two-year-old the opportunity to stay connected with her brother who she hasn’t had the chance to meet in person quite yet.

“Yesterday morning she came in and said ‘Baby Cash, baby Cash’ and opened up the computer,” said McKeever. “It’s only been a few days that we’ve been using it and she already knows where she can go see her brother.”

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