Getting better healthcare from technology. How a neonatal department is using video calling software for mothers who are too unwell to visit

Healthcare and technology
Healthcare and technology
As regular readers of this blog know I’m more than a bit of a fan of the application of technology to healthcare. In particular its usage in the social and communication areas of medicine.

So I was deleighted to read the following story. Leicester Hospitals’ neonatal unit have bought themselves a load of iPads so that see their baby using video calling software when they are too unwell to visit the unit or have been transferred to another hospital.

Simple but brilliant.

Just a useful bit of kit can really improve the lives of both mothers and , of course, the children.

Chloe Denton found out while pregnant that her baby was suffering from intrauterine growth restriction. This is a condition whereby the baby grows poorly while in the mother’s womb. Chloe was closely monitored and it was decided to induce the pregnancy at 36 weeks.

Two weeks before this everything changed. Chloe started fitting, so it was decided to carry out an emergency C-section the next day.

Denton explains: “It was an extremely traumatic time and after a quick glimpse of my little boy, Oliver, he was whisked away to the neonatal unit. I felt lost and desperate to see him.”

Nurses on the ward where Denton was recovering gave her an iPad so she could see Oliver while she was unable to walk to the neonatal unit herself.

“I got to see Oliver for the first time and I was elated. Just seeing him happy and settled gave me immense comfort. I can’t thank the staff in the neonatal unit enough for letting me experience such an amazing thing with my son. The first few hours are so important for bonding and that was all I wanted with Oliver.” she said.

Marie Hubbard, neonatal research nurse for Leicester’s Hospitals said: “It is fantastic that staff are already starting to see the benefits of these iPads. We are very grateful to Leicester Hospitals Charity and the Central Newborn Network project for enabling us to buy them and for IM&T for making it happen.”