MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - New technology, called AngelEye, was installed in the newborn intensive care unit at Hennepin Healthcare on Christmas Eve, giving babies' parents some peace of mind and a connection to their newborn when they can’t be in the NICU.
AngelEye cameras allow parents to check-in on their babies 24/7 through secure livestreaming video over a computer, phone or tablet. The app also has a one-way patient update tool that allows doctors and nurses to send vital updates and precious moments through a text, photo or video recording.
It's become especially important amid the pandemic, as hospitals statewide have visitor restrictions that make it harder for parents to see their babies in-person.
"While it’s not the same as holding them in your arms, at this time, it may be the next best thing," Hennepin Healthcare NICU nurse manager Laura Gary said in a statement.
Parents can share the AngelEye livestream with family and friends, too.
"Right now, we’re not letting any siblings in, so none of these siblings at home get to see the babies up until now when we have Angel Eye. They can watch their little brother or sister on camera," said NICU nurse Sam Low. "I’ve had one mom say that it’s their new favorite TV show. Another mom said she ended up staying up all night because she couldn’t stop watching her babies."
Hennepin Healthcare says it’s the first hospital in the Twin Cities to offer this technology. The hospital launched AngelEye through donations to the Hennepin Healthcare Foundation’s Hennepin Heroes fund.
Mental health experts also said the hospital’s new cameras will help parents cope during a difficult time.
"The experience of new birth can be difficult for families in general. Then the idea that you don’t get to hold your baby right away if the child is taken to the NICU can make the learning curve overwhelming," said Allison Greenwald, social worker at the Postpartum Counseling Center. "So, to wake up in the middle of the night or to get up in the morning and to know you can take a look at your baby I think will provide families with a lot of reassurance."
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