Web camera systems in the neonatal intensive care unit

Welcoming parents and the family 24 hours a day and 7 days a week in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is the optimal way to encourage the family´s relationship with their newborn. However, it may not always be possible for all family members to visit the baby. In these cases, web camera systems in the NICU allow virtual visitation of the hospitalised infant by parents and family members. But in the course of the implementation of such technologies, it is important to explore and to understand the perspective of all involved groups: the newborn infant, parents and family members, healthcare professionals, and the hospital (data protection).

For this purpose, EFCNI organised a project roundtable together with well-known clinical experts from hospitals in Germany and Austria to discuss the advantages, challenges and requirements of web camera systems. Based on the results, a position paper was developed that considers the different perspectives of involved target groups. The document is aimed at supporting hospitals which are interested in installing camera systems.

“Our son was born too early and had to be treated in the neonatal intensive care unit for several weeks. My husband and I spent every free minute in person with him. However, there were also times when we had to be apart from him. During these times, we were able to use a new service: ‘virtual visits’ via a webcam that was fixed above his incubator and which transmitted images in real time. We enjoyed using this tool, especially my husband who had to return to work after two weeks, and used it to have a look at our son during his lunch break. However, the camera couldn’t replace direct contact and caressing, cuddling, and smelling our son. Despite the knowledge that we would see our son at least virtually, it was always hard for us to go home and leave him at the hospital.”

Read the position paper regarding the challenges and requirements for data protection, parents and the child, nurses and doctors, and the hospital with web camera systems in the neonatal intensive care unit.

EFCNI position paper webcam neonatology

Source: EFCNI