SMART NICU2HOME allows parents to visit NICU babies amid hospital coronavirus limitations

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new app is allowing neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) families to "visit" their babies during the coronavirus pandemic.

With uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, many hospitals are limiting the number of people who can visit newborns in NICUs. The safety measure is to help reduce the risk of contamination but that means at facilities like Northwestern Medicine's Prentice Women's Hospital only allow one parent at a time to visit, putting more strain on an already worrisome situation.

Doctor Craig Garfield is a pediatrician at Lurie Children's Hospital who helped create the app.

He said the app SMART NICU2HOME was originally designed for premature NICU babies but has now opened to all NICU families amid the crisis.

It allows parents to check in on their babies from afar while getting updates on vital signs, such as breathing, weight and medications.

The app even has built -in emotional support for families, such as stress-reducing techniques, as well as allowed parents to share access to other family memebers to keep up with the baby's progress.
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