Kingston General Hospital is one of only six hospitals in the province that has a level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ward, which is a unit that cares for newborn babies that need intensive care.
Right now, an initiative is being run to raise money for cameras to be installed in the NICU, to allow parents to see their child whenever they want.
“We are trying to outfit every isolette in the NICU with a webcam,” says Cathie Calarco, organizer of the campaign.
“This would give parents a secure link to see their child any time they want.”
The hospital has been considering this option for a while, but now because of COVID restrictions, it has really highlighted the importance of the cameras.
With the new restrictions, parents only get a certain amount of in-person time with their newborn each day.
“You either have one parent take six hours, or two parents that can split, with a three-hour block each — after that, you have to leave,” says Calarco.
“This would allow parents to still stay connected to their babies even when they’re not bedside.”
One family that is heavily advocating for these webcams is the Kerr family, whose daughter Hannah was born premature at just 27 weeks old.
Hannah’s father, Pat Kerr, was overseas serving in Latvia when she was born.
He came back right after she was born, and started running to raise money for the NICU.
“I raised about $2,700-$3,000, and I wanted to give back to the NICU for all their great work,” says Kerr.
“They mentioned the webcam project, and I immediately knew that was the project I wanted to give to.”
These webcams will help families like the Kerr’s, along with families from out of town who have their newborns in the NICU.
“Not knowing what’s going on with your child, it’s pretty devastating,” says Kerr.
“I know there are a lot of parents that are having a very tough time with all these restrictions in place — not spending those vital first days with their baby for the bonding process, and everything else.”