Technology is allowing mums to interact with their new-born babies on Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s neo-natal ward, if they are too ill to visit them in person.
Using iPads, the hospital has been able to connect mums and babies – and medical staff say the screens can be a big help in breaking down feelings of isolation and separation.
The devices – funded through the hospital’s charity – Blue Skies Hospitals Fund – allow mums to hear and speak to their babies, as well as talk to medical staff looking after their little ones.
This has also helped mums bond with their babies and feel reassured about their care.
Catherine Nash, neonatal lead nurse, said: “This is a wonderful piece of equipment which can really help lift spirits.
“Mums who are not well enough to visit their babies can become really emotional when they see them so clearly on the iPad screen. It can help with separation issues, when mums feel anxious and isolated.
“The picture is so clear, you can even see the babies breathing.”
One screen is mounted on a stand and positioned over the baby’s cot, while another is given to the mum, so the two can connect from any part of the hospital.
Short films have also been loaded onto the iPad, which are used to provide information to parents when preparing for discharge home.
Much of the money was raised by staff and former patients through events such as World Prematurity Day.
This helped boost the Blue Skies pot and the charity was also able to purchase privacy screens, blackout blinds, sibling packs and admission bags for the unit.
Kila Redfearn, head of fund-raising for Blue Skies, said: “We are delighted to have been able to provide iPads and other equipment to enhance patient experience on our neonatal ward.
“We are so grateful to the fundraisers who make these donations possible and allow small miracles to happen within the hospital every day, such as when a mum can interact with her new-born through new technology.
“Without the support of people willing to raise money, we could not purchase this type of equipment and help make such a difference to patients’ lives.”