Video diaries service keeps families connected with their babies in NHS neonatal units

06 February 2024

Video diaries service keeps  families connected with their  babies in NHS neonatal units

There are over 100,000 babies treated in NHS neonatal units (NNUs) each year in the UK, with 1 in 13 babies born prematurely. This can be a hugely stressful time, particularly for parents and caregivers when they are away from the unit. Long distances, other children and work commitments can make it challenging to visit the hospital regularly, leading to many parents experiencing separation anxiety, which in turn creates challenges with remote bonding and milk expression.

To alleviate separation anxiety for these families, the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) began exploring asynchronous video and photo messaging services and in March 2020 implemented vCreate NICU Diaries. The secure service allows neonatal nurses to record and upload short video-clips and photos of babies on approved devices to share directly with families.

Margaret Hunt, Senior Neonatal Nuse at the TMBU, said: “It’s been invaluable to share a baby’s special moments and milestones with families who otherwise would have missed them. We prioritise personalising care and leading with a family-integrated approach, so we love being able to tailor our photos and videos to include personalised messages for parents.”

“Before vCreate, we could only phone families to update them on their baby’s care which we found often disrupted their respite time. Now, their babies’ videos and photos are available for them to securely view at their leisure and can be downloaded as keepsakes when babies are discharged.”

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.

Vix Monnelly, Neonatologist at the Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health said: “We noticed that mothers on our unit are particularly responsive to updates sent during the night. For these mothers, the photos and videos act not only as a comfort but as an aid to help them remotely express.”

Following overwhelmingly positive feedback, the Trevor Mann Baby Unit continues to use vCreate as an essential part of their service to support families throughout the neonatal unit experience.

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