North Central Baptist Hospital NICU receives new computer tablets, care packages for parents in need

Apr 18, 2021
NICU-400-x-300(Left to right) Representatives from the March of Dimes, Community First Health Plans and the Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. pose with Leslie Pruitt, RN, (third from left) and NICU parents (far right) Brandon and Elizabeth Swillinger at the presentation of the donations to the NICU.

Six new computer tablets and several care packages were generously donated this spring and presented by the March of Dimes to the North Central Baptist Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to help families stay connected when their child is NICU, particularly during the COVID pandemic.

The tablets are preloaded with March of Dimes apps and digital resources to help parents during their stay. The tablets can connect to hospital WIFI so parents can zoom or video call with family and friends outside of the hospital as well. The donation is part of a new program called “Caring Connections” the March of Dimes initiated to fill a need for these services during the pandemic.

Care packages filled with other needed items for NICU parents were also being presented at this time by the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. as part of their “Project Cradle Care” program.

Leslie Pruitt, NICU director at North Central Baptist Hospital, said the technology and care packages are invaluable to parents who are unable to travel to the hospital regularly or who may be quarantined with COVID.

“The new technology will also allow extended families to see and interact with newborns as they were able to do pre-COVID,” Pruitt said. “Our NICU will also be able to use this technology for discharge purposes, videos and remote teaching,” she said.

Brandon and Elizabeth Swillinger, whose twin boys were born nearly 4 months early weighed only 1 pound and 15 ounces and the other weighed 2 pounds and 5 ounces when they arrived. The Swillinger family, who lives in New Braunfels, said they are grateful that their boys were able to stay in the NICU at North Central Baptist Hospital in San Antonio. “We’ve been here for about two months and our boys are growing stronger and healthy and weigh much more today than they did when they were born,” Elizabeth Swillinger said.

The Swillingers had the opportunity to attend the presentation of the donations and said the computer tablets will help them to learn more about what to expect as their NICU journey continues and to communicate with family without having to travel back and forth the miles it takes them to drive home to New Braunfels, especially during pandemic.

“For us and for any family, these tablets are a welcomed gift that allow our children, who are staying back home in New Braunfels with family member, to be able to see their new brothers,” Brandon Swillinger said. “Some families may not have access to this type of technology so it’s a blessing,” he said.

Elizabeth added that the care packages with onesies, blankets, bibs and other necessities make all the difference to parents who have a lot on their minds at the time of their child’s birth.

“These items with simple things like socks are very important and often can be items that parents may forget to pack when they are busy and have a lot on their minds. All of these items are so helpful and it really shows that there are kind and caring people out there who want to provide added support for NICU parents and families,” she said. “It’s a great feeling to have such great support,” she said.

View the news story from CBS affiliate KENS-TV on this topic

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