App brings parents closer to newborns

Posted: October 24, 2017

GWH staff send photos and updates to parents

Great Western Hospital's Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) is one of the first in the region to implement a unique app which allows nurses to send secure photographs and written updates of a baby's progress to their parents.

 
The New Life Special Care Babies charity donated three iPads to the ward in June for staff to use the Baby Diary app, which works with an internet connection to receive real-time messages.

The app is being launched across the South West and GWH is one of the first neonatal units to put it into action.
 
Baby Diary can be downloaded to parents' smartphones and tablet devices, and used online, to save photographs and share special moments with family at home.
 
Dr Sarah Bates, Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist, said: "Being separated from your baby after birth, especially when your baby is sick or premature, is an enormous trauma.
 
"It will help in some small way to provide that greater link for parents for those times when they can't be at their baby's side.
 
"It is a real success so far; one parent said to me earlier: 'It makes me feel like the nurses aren't just looking after my baby, they are looking after my whole family.'"
 
The app can be used at any time of day but is regularly in action during the ward's night shifts, as a way to reassure parents on how their babies are settling.
 
Sophie and Darren Brown are among the parents with babies in SCBU who are using the app on their phones.

It is especially comforting to them as Darren, a local chef, has recently returned to work.
 
Their twins, daughter Lily-Rose and son Riley, were born at Southampton General Hospital at 24 weeks on 12 July this year, ahead of their due date of 26 October. After transferring to different hospitals they were reunited at GWH.
 
Sophie said: "They have been in hospital for 104 days so far and we've been in every single day.
 
"When you are away it's so hard just thinking about them, but the nurses always send us pictures and a message for us to wake up to.
 
"We get messages like 'I've woke up for my 4am feed' and 'Good morning Mummy and Daddy, I'm wide awake this morning'; we didn't really have that at other hospitals.
 
"It's lovely that the nurses care about them enough to send pictures.

"They try and involve us as much as possible and make it as close to home as they can."

The Browns' twins are said to be doing well and will be discharged in the next few weeks.
 
Baby Diary is produced by neonatal database system BadgerNet and is available to access via the app or online

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