Powering Critical Connections for NICU Babies and their Families

After welcoming a new baby, the last thing that a parent wants to do is to leave the baby in the care of someone else. But that’s often the situation for parents and families of newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Due to the nature of care and the NICU environment, parents and family members cannot always be with the baby 24/7. They may even miss critical milestones or updates if they need to step away from the NICU for work, to care for other children or even to get some much-needed rest.

Today at IWK Health in Halifax, Canada, that’s not the case. IWK’s Chez NICU Home program provides families with online education, resources, and virtual connections to help them become more active participants in the care of their baby while in the NICU.

Chez NICU Home includes a web-delivered application created by the IWK that provides evidence-based education and resources for families with the ability to track their infant’s progress. From daily care activities, feeding and nursing, to the discharge process and understanding common NICU conditions, Chez NICU Home provides families with the information they need at anytime, anywhere. 97% of families that participated in the Chez NICU Home application agreed that the resources were extremely beneficial during an otherwise stressful time.

Each NICU room is also equipped with a high-quality Webex video device and collaboration technology that connects families to appointments with healthcare providers and local health professionals, or to family members who are unable to be there in person. For example, if spouses need to care for other children out of town, they can virtually participate in clinical rounds via Webex to get the latest update on the baby’s progress.

Leveraging Cisco technology to provide critical support and virtual connections has helped more than 450 families thrive during their stay in the NICU at IWK Health.

Chez NICU Home was a collaboration across IWK Health that included Innovation Services, a team of researchers, clinicians, and IT, in partnership with Cisco Canada and OnX. It was developed with support and financial contribution from the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the IWK Foundation.


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