St. Jude Medical Center Helps Ease the Trauma of Premature Birth

Source: Healthcare IT News

When a baby requires care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), it is a stressful time for the entire family.  St. Jude Medical Center, part of the St. Joseph Health System, has made it a little easier. For parents with babies in the St. Jude NICU, no matter where they are, no matter if it is 2 a.m. or 2 p.m.-their infant is now as close as a computer or mobile device.

St. Jude Medical Center is the first hospital in Southern California - and one of the first in the nation - to offer parents the reassurance of watching their baby grow and develop through the nicview Webcam System. 

Premature or ill infants can spend weeks in the NICU, and whether because of work or the need to care for other children, parents often can't spend as much time as they want to at the hospital.

"This helps bridge the gap between wanting to be there and yet not being able to because of work, distance or other obligations," said David Hicks, M.D., Medical Director of the NICU at St. Jude Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Orange County-affiliated neonatologist. "It offers parents reassurance and allows them to begin bonding with their baby at a time when it is most needed."

The password-protected system uses individual cameras above each baby's isolette to provide a continuous stream of live video. Parents have reported watching their newborns while at work, when they are shopping and even when they are brushing their teeth. They have also given the secured link to family members so they can meet the newest member of the family. 

"Being apart from your newborn while he or she is cared for in the NICU can be very difficult," says Dr. Hicks. "This webcam will make the separation a bit easier, by providing parents and extended family with "virtual visits" with their newborn.  It is not meant to be a substitute for visiting, but to supplement. We hope it will give them reassurance and peace of mind."
As a Level III NICU, St. Jude Medical Center provides state-of-the-art care for up to 14 critically ill newborns at a time. Staffed 24/7 by Children's Hospital of Orange County-affiliated neonatologists and a highly trained nursing staff, the unit specializes in creating exceptional outcomes for even the smallest of babies.

About St. Jude Medical Center
St. Jude Medical Center is a faith-based, nonprofit, 384-bed, facility, and is one of Southern California's most respected and technologically advanced hospitals. With over 700 of the area's finest physicians on staff, St. Jude offers nearly every medical specialty and sub-specialty.  Whether for the birth of a baby, lifesaving surgery or a routine mammogram, St. Jude continues to set the standard for medical care and offers the community the most comprehensive array of services and programs.
About St. Joseph's Health System
The St. Joseph Health System (SJHS) is a $4.7 billion, integrated Catholic healthcare delivery system sponsored by the St. Joseph Health Ministry. We provide a full range of care facilities including acute care hospitals, home health agencies, hospice care, outpatient services, skilled nursing facilities, community clinics, and physician organizations throughout California, Texas and New Mexico. Our 24,000 dedicated employees strive daily to provide perfect care while building the healthiest communities and ensuring every encounter is sacred. SJHS is committed to maintaining a continuum of care that matches the diverse needs of the communities we serve. For more information about SJHS, log onto www.stjoe.org.