/////UAMS Cameras Help Distant Parents Stay Linked With Newborns
UAMS Cameras Help Distant Parents Stay Linked With Newborns 2018-01-05T09:16:48+00:00

FEB. 27, 2006 | Joy Forrester looked longingly at her computer screen, where live video showed her premature daughter being touched by a nurse at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Critical Care Nursery.

“You’re getting jealous aren’t you?” Joy’s husband Bobby said good-naturedly.

The Cherry Valley parents were among the first Arkansans to see their baby this way, and the Valentine’s Day scene became a media event at UAMS.

Like any parents, the Forresters are welcome to see their daughter, Avery Grace, in person at the Critical Care Nursery. But regular visits can become difficult for parents who have other family and job obligations outside central Arkansas.
For now, Joy is able to stay at the UAMS Family Home, which is only a couple of blocks from the nursery. Her husband had to return to work in northeastern Arkansas, which made him grateful for the Web-based video link.

“That’s the best Valentine’s Day present you could ask for, right there,” Bobby said as he and Joy watched their 16-day-old daughter from the Family Home.

Bobby, who has wireless Internet access for the laptop he uses as part of his job, said seeing live video of his daughter is the next best thing to being there. The UAMS ANGEL Eye program allows viewers to zoom in and take snapshots that they can e-mail to friends and family. Parents may give their password to friends and family who wish to see the baby using the UAMS program.

The pilot program assigns five cameras to infants in the Critical Care Nursery, which is the first stop for infants weighing little more than a pound. The Critical Care Nursery has as many as 10 babies on a given day and the program plans to expand to accommodate all of these beds.

ANGELS is the Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System, a cooperative program between UAMS, the state Department of Health and Human Services and the Arkansas Medical Society to improve regional pre-natal care for high-risk pregnancies. It was created by Curtis Lowery, M.D., a professor in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Lowery said the ANGEL Eye program eventually will become part of a research project on bonding.
“We believe the ability of a mother to see her infant, even from a computer screen 100 miles away, will help her bond with her baby, and it may improve lactation,” Lowery said. “This would be an extraordinary benefit to both mother and child.”
Infants will be on camera for 15 minutes twice a day seven days a week. A doctor also may choose to have the baby on camera while talking to parents by phone.

Joy quipped that her husband’s laptop screensaver would soon be a picture of Avery Grace, who weighed 1 pound, 12 ounces when born.

“I’ve got a big old bulldozer on it now,” Bobby said. “I’m going to have to put her on there.”

Joy, who had preeclampsia and was rushed to UAMS from Jonesboro three months ahead of her due date, said she, too, would be unable to stay for her daughter’s months-long recovery period.

“I will have to go home, eventually, and she’ll still be here,” said Joy, a cosmetologist. “We have to move on and keep working, but this program gives me peace of mind.”