So you’re in the final stretch of pregnancy and counting down until your little one arrives! Along with packing your hospital bag, and mentally preparing for labor and delivery, the current visitation policy at the hospital has likely been on the forefront of your mind. We’ve caught up with Huntsville Hospital to discuss their current COVID-19 visitation policy as it applies to your big moment.
How many support person(s) are allowed to be with and visit the patient during and after labor?
Two designated caregivers, 16 years or older.
Are visitors allowed after the baby is born?
We are welcoming two designated caregivers for the entire stay. We ask caregivers to not come if they are sick. All caregivers will be required to check in at the front entrance with our security team. Valid identification will be required for all caregivers. No additional visitors are allowed at this time.
What options are available for families to connect with their loved ones outside the hospital?
Many of our patients have chosen to use their phones to FaceTime or video conference with those that cannot visit. If a patient does not have a source to video conference, then they may ask our team for a mobile device on the unit that can provide this connection. Any videoing during the delivery must be discussed with your OB prior to delivery.
What are the screening procedures for the pregnant individual and their support person?
We are only testing our patients who are having signs and symptoms of COVID. If mom is positive, only one support person is allowed.
What happens if one or both individuals test positive for COVID?
If mom comes in with a current positive test or with symptoms of COVID, we place her in our negative pressure room in Labor & Delivery. Staff will wear N-95 masks and gowns. If the support person has symptoms or has a positive test, he/she will remain in the room with mom with a mask on at all times and will not be allowed to come and go from the patient room.
What is the masking policy while in the room?
Mom and support caregivers are to wear masks when members of the medical team are in the room. Staff will wear a mask at all times, specifically, an N95 mask for epidural placement and during pushing and delivery.
In the event that mom tests positive, what impact does that have on baby’s care?
We keep mom and baby together with skin to skin for an hour with breastfeeding practices remaining the same. Mom and baby are transferred together to the Mother/baby unit and will remain together until discharge. The mom or support persons are to wear a mask and use good hand hygiene when caring for the baby. The baby will be tested per physician’s order. This is usually on the second day.
What changes, if any, have been made in terms of the baby being removed from the room with mom? What precautions are in place to keep the baby’s exposure to others limited?
The mom and baby remain in the room together. All tests and procedures, including the circumcision, are done in the room. Mom and support person are to wear masks and use good hand hygiene when caring for the baby. When the baby is resting, the baby will be placed in the isolette or in an open crib 6 feet away from mom to decrease the exposure to the baby. All staff coming into the room will be wearing a gown and mask. We limit the staff who enter the room. We order a meal tray for the support person so they do not have to leave the room.
Have there been any changes to the amount of time that mom and baby stay in the hospital after birth?
We have had some moms request the 24 hour stay. We have criteria in place that supports this but there are many factors that go into the decision to discharge the baby at 24 hours including mom’s risk factors, how the baby is doing, and their private pediatrician’s recommendations.
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