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Wolfson Children's Hospital using iPads, Zoom for families to meet babies for first time

Wolfson Children's Hospital is one out of 15 hospitals across the U.S. chosen to receive a grant for iPads used to connect families with their babies.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Most people have probably used the app Zoom at some point during quarantine. One hospital on the First Coast is using the app to connect families with their babies for the first time.

Wolfson Children’s Hospital started using a couple of iPads and the Zoom app for family members in its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to meet their babies. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only the baby’s two legal guardians are allowed in person, who are screened for symptoms of COVID-19 before entering and have to wash their hands and wear masks.

“I think the most exciting situations that we’ve seen are when siblings get to meet the newest member of their family,” Jennifer Southall, perinatal nursing director at Baptist Medical and Wolfson Children’s Hospital, said.

The iPads are mounted onto rolling stands that can move all over the NICU.

“They can get very close to our patients. It’s great for siblings to see all of the facial features, all of their fingers and toes,” she said.

A $10,000 grant from Pampers allowed the staff to buy more iPads for its close to 60-bed NICU. Pampers picked Wolfson and 14 other hospitals out of close to 400 applicants across the United States and Canada.

“When I saw the Pamper’s grant available for us to apply for, I knew that we needed more iPads. We have a very large NICU at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and two iPads just weren’t enough to maintain that level of connectivity for our families,” Southall said.

Currently, the NICU has five iPads. Southall said they’ll use the grant to buy more and also invest in other technologies that connect families to their babies.

“Resiliency is key and I think overall that health care is doing wonderful adapting to the changes [from COVID-19],” she said.

According to Southall, the iPads are also used if a guardian has to undergo testing for COVID-19, or isn’t feeling well. It allows the parents to still see their baby.