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Cork hospital starts 'virtual' visiting for babies to help overcome Covid-19 restrictions

The new service allows parents to check in on their baby remotely from any device at any time.

Image: Shutterstock/ChameleonsEye

AN IRISH MATERNITY hospital has teamed up with researchers to provide a ‘virtual’ visiting service for babies at its neonatal intensive care unit.

Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) has worked with the INFANT Research Centre at University College Cork to introduce a video messaging platform for new parents whose child is being treated at the unit.

The platform allows parents to check in on their baby remotely from any device at any time, and has been made available at no cost to those who wish to use it.

It also allows parents to download videos of their baby to share with siblings, grandparents and other family members.

This system follows previous research work supported by Science Foundation Ireland, and comes as restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic mean that only mothers can visit the unit for limited time periods during the day.

Nicola Carey is one parent who has been using the virtual platform to check on the progress of her son, who is currently being treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“It is great, as his dad can see the progress he is making on a daily basis,” she said.

“It is great to see him in the morning before I visit. It has been amazing for the anxious grandparents to see him and know he is doing well. It has been brilliant for us.”

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Consultant Neonatologist at CUMH and Principal Investigator at INFANT described the system as “a fantastic initiative” which would reduce the significant stress that parents are now facing.

“Whether it’s for a day or two admission, or indeed many months for our most immature babies, we believe this system, along with its educational material, will alleviate some of the worry that families face in these difficult times.”

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