Sierra Vista Hospital in SLO Introduces Neonatal Webcam

Amanda Pyle Citrin was just over 33 weeks pregnant with twins when she and husband Asher Citrin settled in for a low-key New Year’s Eve party at their Shell Beach home.

Little did the couple know their new journey as parents was going to start early.

“I think they thought we were too boring and they knew we needed a little more New Year’s Eve party,” Pyle Citrin said.

On New Year’s Day, the twins, Bennett Citrin and Larkin Citrin, arrived nearly seven weeks before their due date. After a heartbreaking birth experience, the new parents had to do what every new parent dreads: leaving the hospital without their babies.

“I don’t think being a new mum is easy for anyone, but being a new mum whose babies have to stay in the hospital when they send me home is just not a position I wish anyone,” Pyle Citrin said. his voice heavy with emotion.

Since New Year’s Day, Bennett and Larkin have been living in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo.

Swaddled in blankets like baby burritos, the twin babies sleep in their own beds under the watchful eye of NICU nurses, Dr. Steve Van Scoy, NICU manager Sierra Vista, and sometimes even grown-ups. -mother and grandfather.

But thanks to new technology at the hospital, parents are not as disconnected as they would have been in the past.

It’s because of the NicView – a small camera system installed above the infant’s bed that allows families to watch a live feed of their infants in the NICU anytime and anywhere.

Sierra Vista is probably the only NICU in California with NicView

the NicViewComment was developed by Natus Medical Incorporated, a medical technology company that creates tools to support newborn health.

Sierra Vista offers the the highest level of NICU care in San Luis Obispo County. It is currently the only NICU in California to use NicView camera technology, according to hospital officials.

“Usually they’re in a city that’s at least twice our size,” NICU director Dr. Steve Van Scoy said in a statement. podcast produced by Tenet Health Central Coast. “And so it was really by chance and by chance, I think, that we were able to start this program and end up with a great neonatal unit that we have today.”

Although Sierra Vista is the only California hospital known to have the technology, other Tenet Healthcare NICUs are also using it nationwide, hospital officials said.

Sierra Vista NICULede3
Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit’s new NicView system provides a live camera feed that parents can watch anywhere, anytime. Hospital officials say it’s the only one of its kind in California. Laura Dickinson [email protected]

NicView’s slogan is “the next best thing to being there”, and NICU health workers and parents are inclined to back that statement.

The NicView allows parents like the Citrin family to tap into live video of their infants while in the NICU.

The ability to keep in touch with NICU babies remotely has many benefits for the mother-child bond and helps family members feel more involved in their care, hospital health workers say. .

Initially, nurses were a little hesitant about the new technology that was introduced to NICU Sierra Vista about six months ago, said Emily Hosford, registered nurse and manager of women’s and children’s services at the ‘NICU.

The live feed is always on, except during “contact times,” when doctors or nurses provide direct care to infants, Hosford said.

Hosford said Natus is really good at adjusting camera angles and zoom levels on demand for families, so nurses don’t have to spend important clinical hours adjusting the camera.

Any hesitation from health workers about the new camera system has since dissipated, she said.

“Now, since they’ve seen all the benefits, everyone’s in love,” she said.

How NicView cameras work

Enrolling in the NicView program is simple. All parents need to do is sign a consent form, allowing Sierra Vista staff to turn on the NicView camera above the baby’s crib, Hosford said.

NicView cameras are secured with a username and password for their NicView account, which parents can share with extended family and friends, Hosford said.

Sierra Vista NICU_Lede2A
Emily Hosford, manager of women’s and children’s services at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, explains how the NicView live camera works in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. Laura Dickinson [email protected]

This is especially beneficial during the coronavirus pandemic, as visits to the NICU in Sierra Vista are limited to parents or immediate guardians, Hosford said.

“It’s also really nice to be able to give that access to all the grandparents so they can tune in and watch it,” Pyle Citrin said. “Because they can’t go to the NICU to see them, and they’re dying to put their paws on those babies.”

Recordings or still images are not permitted, and the NicView camera can be streamed to a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Staff.

NicView camera promotes bonding, lactation

According to a study 2020 on the subject.

The results of the study show that the virtual visit technology, compatible with the NicView, has advantages for the mother-child bond.

The results of this study are consistent with anecdotes from Sierra Vista NICU hospital workers and parents that show this link may also extend to physical benefits for mother and baby.

New mothers are encouraged to be at the baby’s bedside, view a photo of the baby and connect with their child in any way they can to boost lactation, Hosford said.

Pyle Citrin said she enjoys tugging the twins on the NicView during the lonely, nighttime pumping hours when she would normally be by the babies’ bedsides.

“I watch them all the time,” she said. “The camera is really great for things like when I’m awake in the middle of the night pumping, and there’s, like, no other way I can be in contact with them at all. … I can take the cameras out at 3 a.m. and watch them.

“It’s so comforting when I can’t have them with me to be able to watch them at least in the middle of the night.”

Dr. Van Scoy worked at the Sierra Vista NICU for 25 years and has seen newborn care technology become more sophisticated over time.

He said milk and nutrition are essential for fragile NICU newborns, so any tool that can improve mother-infant bonding and stimulate faster milk production is beneficial for babies.

“Milk is so essential for these children at their age,” he said. “It’s really a big advantage.”

He said that while NicView may not be medically critical – it doesn’t help preemies stay warm or breathe easier, for example – it has real health implications. from a psychosocial point of view.

“I think from a parent’s point of view and from a psychosocial point of view, this can be very pioneering because it will pave the way for ever more miniaturized, ever more interactive and ever more clear and colorful videos, as well as things more realistic,” said Dr Van Scoy. noted.

“I think it’s going to have a huge impact on parents’ stress levels and comfort with having their children here and for the general well-being of the whole family,” he said.

Be certain, the emotional impacts of having the twins in the NICU have been heavy on the Citrin family. Pyle Citrin said she believes hospitals should embrace any technology that helps NICU parents feel more connected to their babies from afar.

“We kind of have the best version of a really shitty situation,” Pyle Citrin said. “We have all the support of having Dr Van Scoy, who is wonderful, and our NICU nurses, and being able to log on a webcam is really all that can help to make it less of a pain to have my little boys away from me. ”

Pyle Citrin said hospital staff have yet to give the family a discharge date for the twins, but last week the two boys were able to finish an entire bottle and are starting to put on weight.

“They paid attention to their P’s and Q’s and followed my instructions to get chubby while they’re there, because I need big little baby cheeks,” she said.

The family are optimistic that the boys will soon be settled into their nursery and can leave NICU life behind them.

But they shouldn’t expect to put cameras behind them. Webcams may be gone soon, but I guess they have a lifetime of photos and videos of their parents ahead of them.

This story was originally published January 26, 2022 5:00 a.m.

Comments are closed.