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Thursday, December 05, 2013 - Sparrow NICU uses iPads so moms can observe their babies when they can’t be by their side


When Melissa Shiffer’s newborn son was unexpectedly taken to the Sparrow Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, all she could think was “here we go again,” remembering her 36-hour separation from her newborn daughter years earlier.

But seven years of technology advances and an innovative approach to Patient care meant she was able to watch her son get his measurements taken and she was able to talk with nurses about his care from several floors away.

Through grant funding, the NICU has purchased iPads allowing new parents to FaceTime with their baby when circumstances prevent them from being bedside. NCIU nurses place an iPad face down on the top of the incubator and are then able to talk to the parents – whether they are on a different floor or at another hospital miles away.

“It was as if we were sitting right there with him. It meant so much to be able to experience this, and really cemented our faith and appreciation for the Sparrow NICU,” Shiffer said.

According to Kathy Marble, NICU Department Manager, “This really impacts the Patient experience. It is such an emotional experience to watch a mom bond with their newborn child through the use of this technology.”

The iPads are also being used for siblings to “visit” from the waiting room, since the fragile condition of the babies prevent in-person visitation.

For more than a century, Sparrow has been a leader in caring for children. The first hospital in mid-Michigan to offer a dedicated children's unit, Sparrow today is home to the region's only full-service pediatric emergency department. As a member of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Sparrow is able to provide families the most advanced technology and treatment options in pediatric and neonatal care.

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