Quebec City hospital connects parents, premature babies using webcams
Donation helps fund program used by hundreds of families to connect over long distances
A unique project in Quebec City that allows parents and family members use webcams to connect with premature babies from a distance just received a financial boost.
The program, which has been in effect for eight years at the Centre mère-enfant Soleil, has allowed hundreds of parents and relatives at a distance to see babies in care.
Recently, a restaurant in Quebec City raised $14,000 for equipment for this program. The hospital network has invested between $100,000 and $200,000 in the project.
When you can see them every day, or more regularly, it brings out the fact that, yes there are tubes. But under that, there's my wonderful child who is fighting the fight of his life- Pascale St-Pierre
Pascale St-Pierre, a spokesperson for the hospital network, said it's important for families to see how quickly premature babies develop.
"To see in real time, the baby moving and responding to the parents present or the health care professional, it was greatly, greatly, improving the bonding between the faraway parent and the baby," St-Pierre told CBC Quebec City's Breakaway.
The hospital serves women and infants from all over eastern Quebec and western New Brunswick who need specialized care.
Since many premature babies have to stay in hospital for longer stays, sometimes one or both parents as well as family members are separated at times.
"The first time you see a preemie baby who needs to have ultra special care, it's pretty frightening because they're so small and they have so much equipment around them," said St-Pierre.
"When you can see them every day, or more regularly, it brings out the fact that, yes there are tubes. But under that, there's my wonderful child who is fighting the fight of his life."
Separated by distance
St-Pierre said the project was created by Martin Thibodeau, an educational specialist with the hospital network along with the neonatal team.
She said he noticed that it was harder for parents who had to be away from the baby to bond with the newborn.
More than 450 families, living at least 100 kilometres away, have benefited from the program since it started including a father serving in the military in Afghanistan.
The project also lets families connect with children and pregnant women who are in hospital.
The hospital network hopes in the future to have a program where the babies can hear the voices of their parents from a distance.
with files from Radio-Canada and CBC's Breakaway