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Program to engage parents in NICU care a success, IWK says

Aug 31, 2022 | 2:01 PM

IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax.

A program that connects parents to their newborn in the IWK’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is being called a success by the organization.

Chez NICU Home, a web delivered application  and securely powered Cisco Webex technology are used to connect families to education, support and resources to take a more active role in their baby’s care.

“Parents are invaluable,” Andrea Melanson, Discharge Coordinator at the IWK’s NICU. “They are the key to their baby’s success…  just having that connection, of hearing their voice on camera. Parents can sing to their baby, talk to their baby. That all promotes in brain development for these little ones.”

The program, created by a team of researchers and funded through the IWK Foundation and the federal government, was announced on March 1, 2017. Since then, it’s been used by more than 450 families. 

During the stay, the program allows parents to check in on and speak to their baby via video installed in each hospital room. 

“At two in the morning, when mom wakes up and thinks, Oh my goodness, I want to see my baby and she can’t physically be here, she’s able to just be able to have that glimpse, instead of waiting until the next day when she can come visit,” Melanson said. 

The app, which is considered the education portion of the program,  offers 24/7 access to evidence-based learning about NICU care.  That includes information about daily care activities, feeding and nursing, discharge processes and even common NICU conditions. 

It also tracks your baby’s daily progress. 

Of the people who’ve used the program, 97 per cent agreed the lessons given through Chez NICU Home were helpful, the IWK said in a news release. 

“Just keeping the open lines of communication, I think has has been invaluable for the, for both the staff and the families,” Melanson said. 


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