Avera Medical Minute AMcK: NICVIEW camera connects NICU parents to their baby 24/7

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One in eight babies born in the United States are preterm, making that the number one reason babies are admitted to the NICU.

That can be a very emotionally draining time for parents, as the length of a baby’s stay in the NICU varies.

The Avera McKennan NICU is keeping parents connected to their babies 24/7 – even when they’re away from the NICU.

“Evans Jeffrey Nord was born on July 21, 2017 a little after 1 in the morning. He was born at 28 weeks and three days,” said Jeff Nord of Sioux Falls.

So started the Nord family’s journey in the NICU, a place they call their second home.

“It’s been tough. It’s been our life. I said our summer hasn’t really happened and I can’t believe that it’s already been going on seven weeks that we’ve been here,” said Traci Nord of Sioux Falls.

While mom – Traci – and dad – Jeff – want to be with son Evans every second of the day, as most NICU parents do, it’s nearly impossible.

“That was kind of a struggle just because you feel bad leaving him as a new baby –I’m supposed to be with him 24/7 and so that was a hard thing. But I talked to the nurses about it and they just said rest is important. You’re going to get better rest at home,” said Traci.

“Many families have to go back to work to make ends meet or save that maternity leave so when the child comes home, they have some available time to stay with the child when home,” said Jeff.

That’s why the Avera McKennan Nicu now has ‘NICVIEW’ cameras available for all NICU families to access whenever and wherever.

“We opened it up on August 29. That was the first date that we did – so it’s just brand new. So the camera sits right by the baby’s bed and it’s pointed right at the baby,” said Registered Nurse and NICU Supervisor Deb Wallenburg.

Whether mom or dad are at work or home at night, they can check on Evans and see him in real time.

“Now every time I get up to pump, I get to turn on my phone and look at him in the camera and so that’s been really reassuring and helpful,” said Traci.

“It’s just those times where you might get a little bit anxious in the middle of the night or we’ve actually had a couple of experiences where nurses will put written notes within the cameras lens so we can see them and they say ‘everything’s great. Evans doing well,’” said Jeff.

All NICU families have free access to the NicView. Between 370 and 425 babies are admitted to the Avera McKennan NICU each year – with 70 to 90 transported from hospitals outside of Sioux Falls.

“They do sign a consent and then once they have the consent signed, they are given a secure password and the instructions on how to log in to the NICVIEW. I think it promotes the continued bonding too they have when they’re not here,” said Wallenburg.

“It helps put us at ease, when you’re not worrying about ‘is he being taken care of’ and that helps you relax a little bit too. And he’s growing and doing good and yeah, I love being a mom,” said Traci.

The NICVIEW cameras at Avera Mckennan's NICU were made possible by Interstate Office Products and other generous donors.

Fore more information, just call 877-AT-AVERA.