Photo of a dad in NICU

A first father’s day is a special time for new dads. For families in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), that day takes on a whole new meaning whether you are a first time father or not. Having an infant in the hospital is stressful – and being able to remain included in your babies care may not always be possible for a host of reasons, such as returning to work, distance or other caregiving responsibilities.

Now, thanks to Sinai Health’s Cultivating Change project in partnership with The Change Foundation and WoodGreen Community Services, family caregivers can virtually connect from their own device to their infant’s room, using the Ontario Telemedicine Network, while clinicians discuss care for the day.

For families like Ben and Emily, E-rounds has allowed Ben to continue to participate in his son’s care. “I work in Peterborough so it can be difficult to make it to all the medical rounds. I also recently caught a cold and didn’t want to pass it on to my baby in the NICU,” he notes. “Having the ability to log in to medical rounds and receive the information in real-time has allowed me to continue to be an active member of my son’s care.” Tune in to CTV’s evening news on Friday, June 14 to hear more of Ben’s story.

The E-rounds project helps extend the Family Integrated Care Model, which was developed by clinicians at Mount Sinai Hospital. In Family Integrated Care, parents are encouraged to be active members of the team that take care of their infant while in the NICU. Research has shown that infants cared for under this model grow faster and have less stress, spend fewer days in the NICU, and are less likely to be readmitted to hospital after discharge.

Dads aren’t the only ones to benefit from the program. The caregiving network of NICU babies can be diverse, and can include not only parents, but other family and friends. For example, grandparents have also been participating in the service.

The E-Rounds service will be extended through all zones of the NICU by the end of June.