Arlington Tomorrow Foundation helps connect parents and families to babies in NICU

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On a video screen, a tiny newborn appears asleep in a crib.

The parents, who cannot be at the baby’s side, watch the screen to check in throughout the day.

This new technology is now live at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, providing an instant connection between parents and their infants who require long stays in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Arlington Tomorrow Foundation contributed $82,000 for the system, called Angel Eye Camera Systems.

“It is very difficult for parents to leave the hospital with empty arms,” said Amber Bellville, a veteran NICU nurse at Texas Health Arlington Memorial. “They know their babies physically need to be in the hospital to grow and be healthy, but it’s very difficult emotionally.”

Using a secure login, families can now pull up a live feed of their babies anytime on a computer or smartphone. The system also includes one-way audio so parents can talk to their babies.

Arlington Memorial has installed 17 cameras in its NICU, which serves more than 300 pre-term, high-risk and ill newborns each year.

The hospital is part of Texas Health Resources, which is working to bring the technology to all of its NICUs.

Parents in Arlington have raved about the cameras, Bellville said. Many parents of babies in the NICU cannot be at the hospital as often as they would like because they have other children at home or must return to work.

For those parents, the webcams offer comfort during a difficult time. Other parents say they give their passwords to grandparents or other close relatives who also want to check in.

Jessica A. Kaszynski, a spokeswoman for the Texas Health Resources Foundation, said parents of NICU babies can miss holding, touching and cuddling their babies immediately after delivery.

“Parents whose babies are in the NICU are robbed of a lot of firsts: first bath, first diaper change,” Kaszynski said. “The webcams provide parents with a little peace of mind. If they suddenly feel they need to check on their child in the middle of the night, they can do so.”

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