Scottish hospital uses video to help parents of neo-natal babies stay connected 6 years ago

Scottish hospital uses video to help parents of neo-natal babies stay connected

Medical staff treating babies at a hospital in Scotland are using video technology to helping parents stay connected to their babas.

Nurse with a tablet Image: BBC

The initiative, thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, is being trialled at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow - where around 600 babies are treated in the neonatal unit every year.

Because many parents aren't able to stay with their babies around the clock, staff can send short video clips of their smallest patients to parents who are away from the hospital.

Dr Neil Patel, a neonatologist, told the BBC that the video initiative  was suggested by a parent whose baby was being cared for on the ward:

"He told us how, in his own work, they used short videos to feedback to customers and he said it would be great if you could do that and send me a message about my baby, especially when I can't be in the unit.

Short message we think is a really effective way to give parents an update on their baby but in some ways to draw them into the care of their baby as well.

We've already had interest from other centres to use the system for the babies they look after as well - in Scotland and also in other parts of the UK."


Emma Gallagher, a senior staff nurse at the hospital, regularly uses a tablet to record short video clips and send secure updates to parents:

"It's great. When we find a good moment where we can video a baby, we just take that opportunity.

Sometimes things happen at night-time that the parents don't always see so it's nice to capture a little video to show them what their baby is up to while they're maybe sleeping or not able to make it up.

It doesn't take up any extra time because we wouldn't do it if we were really busy and it's something that we're all very excited about and interested in. We want to support the families."

Parents Sarah and Jack, whose baby daughter Sophie has spent the first six weeks of her life at the Glasgow hospital, told the BBC that the new video scheme offers them reassurance as they live half an hour away and cannot always be there:

"It was really nice, really reassuring. It meant we could be here without actually being here. It's nice to have a little memory, it's much nicer than a phone call. It's nice to just have a little memento.

We'll download them all at the end and we'll have a video log of her whole hospital experience which will be nice to show her in years to come."

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