CHI launches video diaries app on World Prematurity Day to keep families connected with their babies and children in hospital

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New Mum Sarah McNamara, Neonatal Nurse Specialist Jenny Dunne and 3 month old Ellie in CHI at Crumlin.

This World Prematurity Day, neonatal and paediatric wards in Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin, launched a secure video messaging app to keep parents connected to their littles ones when they can’t be at the hospital, made possible with the support of the kind donations to Children’s Health Foundation.

In Ireland, 1 in every 16 babies are born prematurely with 1 in 7 babies needing support from a neonatal team. For parents of premature and sick babies who have been unable to spend time together as a family due to visiting restrictions and infection control, the coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated an already distressing situation.

The team in CHI at Crumlin identified the increased challenges faced by families they support and started exploring how technology could help reduce separation anxiety for parents of premature and sick children. As a result, CHI at Crumlin launched vCreate Diaries, a secure video messaging service which allows nursing teams to record and share visual updates of babies with their parents. VCreate will be rolled out in CHI at Crumlin and Temple Street hospitals through the Neonatal Department.

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Clinical Nurse Facilitator Elaine O’Rourke captures the very first video message via the VCreate app in CHI at Crumlin of Mum Sarah McNamara, Neonatal Nurse Specialist Jenny Dunne and 3 month old Ellie.

Funded by Children’s Health Foundation, clinical teams are excited to begin capturing and sharing special moments of the hospital’s youngest patients to share with their families.

Denise Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of Children’s Health Foundation said:
“We’re delighted to support such a fantastic project which will have a positive, lasting impact on the parents and families of some of the youngest and sickest patients at CHI at Crumlin. The vCreate Diaries will connect new and growing families, making sure they don’t miss out on any special moments. Technology like this is so important now more than ever as visiting restrictions continue as we come into winter. We’re so grateful to our fantastic supporters whose kindness makes projects like the vCreate Diaries possible. Each time our supporters donate or fundraise for the Children’s Health Foundation, they make a real difference to the lives of sick children and their families.”

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New Mum Sarah McNamara and Dad Jason Lynch are delighted to use the VCreate app during their daughter Ellie’s stay in hospital in CHI at Crumlin to capture special moments with their family.

Dr. Ann Hickey, Head of the Neonatal Department in CHI at Crumlin and Temple Street and Neonatal Consultant said:
“At CHI we care for new-born infants admitted from all over Ireland for specialist care. Transfer may be necessary just hours after birth with all of the challenges and anxieties that separation from mothers and families can then bring. VCreate can offer reassurance and support to help alleviate some of the fears and anxieties separation brings. Enabling parents to see their baby in videos and pictures helps us as clinicians to provide more meaningful updates and share their baby’s journey more effectively during these most stressful times.”

To mark the technology’s availability and World Prematurity Day on the 17th November, CHI at Crumlin hosted a launch celebration for its staff and families.

A recent multi-centre evaluation highlighted how vCreate Diaries reduces parents’ separation anxiety, improves their involvement in their child’s care, and supports positive relationships with their clinical care team. To date, the platform has helped over 30,000 families stay connected with over 130,000 videos updates around in the UK.