St. Boniface Hospital’s NICU implements video diaries service to keep families connected with their babies

13 February 2024

St. Boniface Hospital’s NICU implements video diaries service to keep families  connected with their babies

More than 120,000 babies are treated in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) across Canada every year. With nearly 1 in 12 babies born prematurely, thousands of families spend time in the NICU.

As a level 3 tertiary NICU, St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg supports families across Manitoba, Nunavut and Northern Ontario, many of whom face challenges travelling large distances to the unit. Due to these travel constraints, many families are unable to visit the hospital regularly. As a result, some suffer with separation anxiety which can present difficulties with bonding and remote milk expression.

After exploring how technology could help alleviate separation anxiety and promote remote bonding, St Boniface implemented secure asynchronous video service, vCreate NICU Diaries, in 2021. The service allows neonatal staff to record and upload short video-clips and photos of the babies on approved devices which are then shared directly with parents.

Veronica Braganza, Registered Nurse at St.Boniface Hospital said: “The vCreate interface is simple to use and understand, which made it easy for us to learn how to incorporate taking and sharing videos and photos into our routines. The parents love the visual updates, and our team finds it extremely motivating when families send messages of thanks back.”

Alongside helping keep families connected with their babies and reducing separation anxiety, there are also proven physiological benefits to using vCreate. A 2020 British Medical Journal (BMJ) report identified the “enhanced emotional closeness, increased involvement in care and positive effect on breastmilk expression” these visual updates have.

The service has become an integral part of the Family-Integrated Care model, garnering praise from both staff and parents alike.

Veronica Braganza said: “One year from implementing the technology, we’re delighted to have helped support nearly 300 families with over 1,800 videos and photos. As so many parents must travel huge distances to attend the unit, the service is crucial in helping us keep families connected and involved in their baby's care.”

vCreate continues to support St. Boniface Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital and a growing number of Canadian neonatal units to help keep families connected with their babies.

Read the full case study here or email us to request a demo.