Publication Date



neonate, webcam, mental distress, neonatal intensive care unit, NICU visitation


Purpose: Barriers to parents visiting the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in person for infant bonding include socioeconomic status, distance from NICU, and having children at home. Use of NICU bedside webcam can increase access to parent-infant interaction. This study aimed to describe the pattern of webcam logins by parents, relationship of logins to in-person visitation, and maternal factors affecting usage.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, data pertaining to parental webcam logins and in-person visitation, maternal screening for depression, anxiety, and stress, and family sociodemographics were collected from medical records. Relationships between chart variables and webcam or in-person visitation were measured using Pearson’s correlation coefficient and Mann-Whitney U test, as applicable. Login data were obtained from weeks 2 through 5 of NICU stay of the infant, while depression, anxiety, and stress scores were obtained in the second week as standard procedure by a dedicated NICU social worker.

Results: A total of 59 mother-baby dyads were included. Percentage of days visited and webcam logins decreased from week 2 to week 5. A higher rate of webcam login was documented for all parents on days they did not visit in person. Parents who lived ≥ 15 miles away (P = 0.004) and those with government insurance (P = 0.01) visited in person significantly less, although webcam logins showed no difference between groups. One negative correlation was found between percentage of in-person visits and DASS-21 depression score (P = 0.03), but no such correlation was seen with webcam logins.

Conclusions: Parents utilized NICU webcams to connect with their infants when unable to be at the bedside. Webcam use reduced visitation disparities known to be exacerbated by insurance status, home-to-hospital distance, and psychological distress.




February 11th, 2022


June 13th, 2022


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