Room with a View, of the Littlest Ones

Summer 2014

When a newborn lands in the neonatal ICU, it’s a rough road of separation for new parents like Erin and Ryan Hayes. But the NICUs at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC are easing some parental worries with NICVIEW—a camera system mounted above incubators that parents can securely access.

“It was nice,” Erin Hayes says, “to be able to see my baby on there, see both of them.” Twin boys Tristan (pictured) and Maddox, born last November at just 25 weeks, were in both hospitals during their respective six- and four-month stays. The Hayeses tuned in during lunch breaks at work and at bedtime to view their little ones between visits.

“[Parents] can feel comforted that, even though they can’t be with the baby, the baby is okay,” says Beverly Brozanski, MD medical director of Children’s NICU and professor of pediatrics and of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Pitt.

Parents can check in during six designated times each day and share login information with family; folks from 29 states and five countries have connected since December, Brozanski says. “When family—their parents, sisters, and brothers—can log in to see the baby, they understand a little bit more about what the parents are going through.”

By the end of June, Magee had some 30,000 logins to its 62 cameras, and Children’s reported more than 20,000 to its 31. (Children’s plans to add more cameras this year.) Brozanski thinks of the service as part of the big transition from hospital to home.

“Family-centered care is very important to newborn medicine. We’re discharging this baby—this very medically fragile child—to a family that hasn’t had the baby home yet,” she says. “Anything we can do to help ease that transition and allow the family to feel more connected is definitely worthwhile.”

And don’t worry: Maddox and Tristan are home and doing well.

Photo courtesy Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

Photo Illustration by Tim Groen