By Kathy Gallant
A Flying Dust First Nation woman and her family will be able to see her baby in hospital any time thanks to new technology at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital.
A video webcam system called NICView, will allow Samantha Gladue to see her baby through a private and secure live video feed.
Ten incubators were equipped with the cameras last week thanks to a $56,000 donation from Bloom, a Sasaktoon-based non-profit, to the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation.
The technology is the first of its kind in Canada, and Gladue said she was beyond thankful to be able to use it to look in on her son.
“When I’m not there, I can see him and watch him,” she said. “My [other] kids are small and are staying with family while I’m [in Saskatoon], and my husband works. There’s a username to get onto the camera that’s pointing towards him. So whenever they want to, they can go on and see him.”
She said the video feed is a meaningful way for the family to connect with the baby boy while they are not at the hospital in person.
“I’m there all day and then I come home, and that’s when I feel kind of lonely for him,” Gladue said. “But I have the camera to watch him when I start to miss him. I also gave the password to my mom and in-laws, so there’s only a few people that can access it, and when my kids want to go to see him they can ask.”
Gladue’s son is in the NICU because he was born several weeks premature.
“He’s doing way better now,” she said. “He is out of his little house where they were taking his temperature and he eats whenever he wants.”
She said staff in the NICU have made her stay away from Flying Dust much more pleasant.
“I’m actually very pleased with everybody there,” Gladue said. “It’s helped a lot, everyone’s so friendly and there’s someone to talk to every day.”
In a media release from the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation, Dr. Laurence Givelichian, head of pediatrics at the University of Saskatchewan said the addition of the NICView cameras will give families peace of mind.
“We are thrilled that this baby-friendly technology has been brought into Saskatchewan and to our children’s services so that our families can feel at ease while their baby receives medical attention,” he said. “Thanks to this family-centred experience, parents with a newborn baby in the NICU will no longer be imagining the worst and will feel as if they are with their baby every minute.”
Gladue said she got a pleasant surprise when she decided to check the video feed Thursday, the nurse who was attending wrote a message to her:
“Mom, I get to go home today.”