ORANGE PARK, Fla. – New technology is being used to help parents of newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit at Orange Park Medical Center.
The hospital recently started to livestream babies in the NICU so that parents and loved ones can check in when they can’t be there.
A bedside camera called NICVIEW livestreams a family's baby through a secure and private closed system that's viewable 24/7 on any smartphone, tablet or computer.
Orange Park Medical Center is the first hospital in Northeast Florida to use the livestream cameras in its NICU. According to hospital officials, it's a great way for parents and family members to be able to look in on their newborn anytime they want, especially siblings and extended family members who aren’t allowed to visit the NICU.
On Monday, Molly Tyson and Aaron Espinoza returned to the NICU at Orange Park Medical Center, where their newborn son, Easton, spent 19 days.
"It was a struggle just leaving him here, you know, and not knowing what’s going on," Tyson told News4Jax.
Easton was born six weeks early at just 5 pounds, 3 ounces. He was hooked up to several machines hours and days after he was born.
“There was never a night that I didn't make it to that parking lot without breaking down," Espinoza said. "It’s hard to walk out of this room and not take your kid home.”
That’s a feeling Orange Park Medical Center hopes to reduce for future NICU parents. The hospital recently installed a small and secure NICVIEW camera to each NICU bed.
"They can actually see the baby and, if we’re doing anything with the baby, they can see everything that we’re doing," said Pat Ebeltoft, NCIU supervisor at Orange Park Medical Center.
Ebeltoft said the cameras can help ease the stress and anxiety for parents. The livestream also gives siblings a chance to see their new brother or sister for the first time.
“It really helps so they are able to visualize the baby and how the baby is growing and everything," Ebeltoft said. "It really helps with that.”
Easton's parents said they hope the new technology helps provide comfort for families going through a challenging time.
The hospital installed 12 cameras. According to hospital officials, there is no cost to the patient. Once a baby is admitted to the NICU, parents have access to a website, and they can give a code to family members or friends who they want to be allowed to check in on the baby.