A NicView camera at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in...

A NicView camera at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip. Credit: Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center

A new camera system called NicView is allowing moms, dads, siblings, grandparents and more to sneak a peek at preemie babies being cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip.

There are 10 individual cameras, and each one attaches to a different bed. Users need a family-specific password to be connected to the NicView website and see the livestream of their baby with their desktop, tablet or mobile phone. Viewers can check in 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The streams aren’t recorded. The camera system is dubbed NicView because parents and staff often call the neonatal unit the NICU (pronounced NICK-u) for short.

“To have a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit is very stressful for the families,” says Leah Spare-Krauss, clinical nurse specialist at Good Samaritan’s NICU. “It’s very hard for families when they have to leave the baby in the hospital. Some of the babies are in the hospital for many months.”

The new camera system, which parents opt into voluntarily at no charge, allows family members to check in from work or at night, when they normally would be separated from their newborn, Spare-Krauss says. It also allows far-flung family members to see and bond with the baby, she says.

The 10 cameras, which cost in total about $34,000, were paid for by the Guilds of Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center.