Bridging the distance between parents and their premature babies

21 July 2021

Thanks to your support, Evelina London has funded a new app so families can stay connected with their babies even if they can’t be by their side.

When a baby is in hospital, parents want to spend as much time as possible on the ward. But during the coronavirus pandemic, visits to wards have been restricted, and it’s not been as easy for families to visit their babies.

Donations from Evelina London supporters have helped to cover the costs of a video messaging app for the hospital’s neonatal unit. The vCreate app lets parents and families feel closer to their new-borns despite the physical distance.

The new vCreate app is a free service staff can use to send regular updates securely to families who are unable to be on the neonatal unit with their children.

Thanks to your support, countless families have stayed connected even when they haven’t been able to be together on the unit due to coronavirus visiting restrictions.

With the new vCreate app mothers, fathers and family members can send personalised messages to their babies so they can hear the voices of the people who love them most. And clinical staff on the ward can help bridge the distance between parents and their babies with secure photo and video messaging.

“We support parents to be with their babies on the neonatal unit as much as possible, and have accommodation near the unit for parents who live further away as many of our families come from across the South East,” says Elaine Wood, neonatal sister at Evelina London.

“However, we know it can be challenging for parents to stay with their babies all the time and this can cause a lot of anxiety and stress.

“When a baby is admitted to our unit, we sign the family up to vCreate. The app has been vital in helping families feel closely connected to their loved ones during these difficult times”.

What your support has meant for Gracie

Supporter donations have already made all the difference to parents Lucy and Grant, when their baby Gracie was cared for on Evelina London’s neonatal unit.

“We saw her and it was just overwhelming. You know, she was attached to every single tube going,” recalls Lucy, Gracie’s mum.

But thanks to donations from Evelina London supporters, Gracie’s parents were able to use the vCreate app to stay connected to their daughter, even when they weren’t on the ward.

“I’d wake up and have just a picture of her asleep. And it just gave me that reassurance because you feel so guilty not being there all the time,” explains Lucy.

“When I saw a picture of her asleep and settled it just gave me the reassurance to kind of go back to sleep and think: ‘ok she’s ok and I’ll go and see her in the morning.’”

“There would be an amazing little picture of Gracie doing well or knowing she’s being looked after I think is the biggest thing. And that just enforces a bit more of trust and makes you feel a bit at ease,” adds Grant, Gracie’s dad.

Your support makes a world of difference to the children and family who need Evelina London’s specialist support. Donate to support more children just like Gracie today.