Our Young Professionals Board has decided to dedicate our Signature Social this year to help raise awaressness and education to what it is like in the NICU during a global pandemic. We are teaming up to help spread the word of the importance an ipad or tablet would bring to the NICU while also raising critical funds for the March of Dimes.
Mothers often cannot visit their baby in the NICU after delivery until they are stable, which in some cases might be hours, even a day. Tablets/Ipads would enable mothers to see their baby over Skype or Facetime. Tablets/Ipads would allow nurses to communicate to the mothers and explain what all the wires, monitors and machines are. This would help prepare them when they are able to visit. They would not be as shocked. They would also provide a communication bridge between mom and nurse/doctor.
NICU parents being discharged from the hospital is a traumatizing experience because they have to leave the hospital without their baby. It is not what they had dreamed of and planned. At INOVA Fair Oaks, one parent is able to spend the night in the NICU with their baby, but as you can imagine getting a good night’s rest is very hard. Nurses are in and out of the rooms, monitors are beeping, alarms are going off, the sleep chairs are not comfortable, etc. Mothers and Fathers do not get a proper nights rest. Having a Tablet/Ipad would allow parents to call at any time of day or night to see their baby and talk to the nurses which would help relieve some of their anxiety. They would feel comfortable enough going home to get a good night’s sleep.
There are a lot of families who have other children at home they have to take care of so they cannot always get in to visit as much as they want. With COVID restrictions it is even more difficult for families to be there. Other families do not have transportation to get to the hospital and cannot afford a cab or an Uber. Tablets/Ipads would be a great source of comfort for these families giving them the opportunity to ‘visit virtually’.
Research shows that a mother seeing her baby is a stimulus and helps her produce milk and would be an additional benefit to having tablets or Ipads. A mom could use Skype or Facetime from home to help increase their milk supply. The Tablets/Ipads would allow the baby to hear mom and dad’s voice which will increase their bond.
In addition to the benefits of having Skype or Facetime, the Tablets/Ipads would be use to provide education for the families. March of Dimes has a wonderful app that can be downloaded on the tablet/Ipad. The app includes tips and helpful videos to care for your baby in the NICU and at home, tracking tools for breast feeding, pumping, kangaroo care, weight, helps connect with other families with similar experiences.
There are several other Apps, sites and educational videos that can be downloaded to the homepage for the families:
· Car Seat Safety
· Safe Sleep
· Shaken Baby
· Postpartum screening tools
· Soothing music
· ebooks to read to their baby
· NICU terminology
· NICU Graduate mom Facebook group
· Share your Story- March of Dimes
(and many more)
Typically each week/month, March of Dimes plans group educational classes, events, crafts, and social hours in our NICU Family Lounge. With COVID restrictions, they are unable to hold these events. These events are crucial in providing opportunities for the families to meet to find support and comfort. With a Tablet/Ipad, they would have the ability to host these events via Zoom. Families would still be able to attend the classes to learn important NICU information as well as talk with the other families in the NICU.