IWK’s Chez NICU Home platform gives NICU parents the support they need

The virtual program is in partnership with OnX Canada and Cisco's Webex platform

The birth of a new baby is a joyous occasion, however, it can often be fraught with various complications.

Newborns with intensive medical care needs are usually brought to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of a hospital.

While knowing their baby is getting around-the-clock care, parents often find the reality of it difficult, given the many complex reasons why an infant is sent to the NICU.

While a specialized team of medical staff is always there for the newborn, research from IWK Health, a health care and research centre in the Maritimes, shows NICU babies do better if their parents are present and actively involved in their care.

IWK Health wants to make this a reality for more parents. In partnership with OnX Canada and Cisco’s Webex platform, the company launched the Chez NICU Home platform in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic.

The web-delivered application provides support in two ways: the first is through a web app that has evidence-based educational resources for parents to access whenever they need them.

The second component is to connect parents with their child 24/7. It’s often difficult to have parents in the NICU at all times. The program speaks to this issue by connecting families and healthcare providers, within the hospital and beyond, with video through Webex.

Andrea Melanson, a discharge coordinator at IWK Health, told MobileSyrup the pandemic brought on many challenges. For NICU parents it meant finding a way to stay connected with a support system. “The ability to have extended family and friends connect virtually while you are holding your baby skin-to-skin…[is] a welcome comfort to the one spending their time in the NICU.”

Melanson said this program has changed the way she works. As the person responsible for making families stay comfortable and supported, she says she participates in her daily rounds virtually, leading to more effective communication between the team.

“Chez NICU Home has become an integral part of our care delivery model and we cannot imagine our NICU without this valuable supplement to care,” Melanson said. “Our unit vision is to partner with families in the care of their children and Chez NICU Home has made those partnerships stronger than ever.”

Image credit: IWK Health 

Source: IWK Health