Dear new families,
You have a baby on the way, and that is wonderful – congratulations on this exciting time in your life. We know you probably have concerns given the situation with COVID-19. That is completely understandable, and we are here to help.
Firstly, please know that our Childbirth Program is in a separate wing, and – like the rest of our hospital – is cleaned thoroughly, and often.
The safety of our new mothers and their babies is an important priority for our Childbirth Program. We want to ensure the new family is safe and healthy, and that our staff who care for them are safe as well.
To ensure everyone’s safety, we have put the following policies in place. However, as the situation evolves, these restrictions may change. Please check back regularly and prior to coming into the hospital. Previous visitor guidelines for the Childbirth Program are replaced by these guidelines until further notice.
Visiting Policy in Childbirth Triage and the Birth Unit
- Staff, volunteers, patients, and families are required to wear a mask at all times in patient rooms, the Emergency Department, clinics, and waiting rooms.
- Masks are recommended but not required in public areas outside of clinical areas, such as hallways, elevators, cafeterias, and coffee shops.
- If you are coming into the hospital for an appointment or to be assessed, only your essential care partner can come in with you.
- Entrance to the hospital has been restricted to two entrances, the Emergency Department and the Main Entrance. All patients and their designated essential care partner and support person should self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 at the entrances.
- COVID-19 positive essential care partners (within 10 days of onset of symptoms or positive rapid test or PCR swab) will be permitted for the delivery of the baby following the steps outlined below:
- The essential care partner (Dad or other) should wait in their vehicle in the parking lot and await a call from the Birth Unit when the Mom is close to delivery. If the partner does not have a vehicle and cannot wait outside (i.e. winter) we would consider (in consultation with Infection Control) another area to wait ( i.e. Emergency isolation waiting room)
- The partner will enter the hospital via the Birth Unit triage door and will be met by a member of the nursing staff
- The partner will be instructed to wash their hands upon entering the hospital and before entering the birthing suite.
- The partner will be provided an N95 mask and instructed to keep it on at all times.
- The patient will be on droplet and contact precautions and staff will wear appropriate PPE for all interactions with the patient and partner.
- The partner may attend the birth and stay in the room for a short period after birth to visit with the Mom and meet the baby.
- The partner will then be escorted out of the department through the Birth Unit triage entrance.
- No further visitation would be permitted unless deemed necessary and this would be done in consultation with Infection Control.
- You are permitted one other designated support person with you during labour (e.g. a doula or second support person). The second support person MUST be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as they are considered a visitor and not essential. The designated support person who is displaying any symptoms of illness related to COVID-19 will not be permitted into the hospital or may be asked to leave if symptoms start while here.
- Your second designated support person cannot be exchanged with another person. The nurses and physicians will let you know when you can call your second support person to come in. Your second support person must be screened negative, wear a mask, and is encouraged to stay in the room with you as much as possible. Only your essential care provider is permitted if you are scheduled for an elective Caesarean Section.
- A COVID-19 negative essential care partner is permitted to leave and return once per day e.g. going home to shower or out to eat. However, they are encouraged to stay in the room with you as much as possible.
- Meal trays are provided only for patients. Your support person(s) should bring food, snacks, clothes, etc. that are needed for the duration of your stay to minimize traffic throughout the hospital. Tim Hortons and the cafeteria are still available as food options but have restricted hours.
- As a patient, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 you will be required to wear a mask, a blue armband will be put on you and you will be isolated in a private room. If isolation is required, you are permitted one essential care partner only. Your essential care partner will be isolated with you, be required to wear the appropriate protective equipment, and must be prepared to stay in the delivery room with you. For patients that require isolation, meal trays will be provided for your essential care partner as well.
Visiting Policy on the Mother Baby Unit (Post Partum)
- On the Mother Baby Unit, mothers and babies who are well will be permitted only one essential care partner who will stay with you for most of the time. A COVID-19 negative essential care partner is permitted to leave and return from the hospital as needed but should try to limit the number of times leaving and returning. Again, your essential care partner must remain in the room with you as much as possible. Please ensure your care partner has enough food, snacks, clothes, etc. for the duration of your stay. Tim Hortons and the cafeteria are still available as food options but have restricted hours. You can expect to stay between 36 to 72 hours after delivery. In some extenuating circumstances, the care partner may be exchanged with the previously designated second support person in the event that the essential care partner needs to leave for an extended period of time e.g. going home for the night to attend to other children, etc. Please discuss this with your nurse.
- Please plan to have your family and friends visit after you and your baby are at home. While in hospital, in addition to your essential care partner, grandparents and siblings of baby may visit between the hours of 2pm and 8pm daily, but the number of family at the bedside should be limited to 2 (excluding the mother, partner and baby) at one time. Be mindful that in a shared room, other patients may have essential care partners and a visiting second support person as well. It is essential that a safe physical distance is maintained.
- A baby of a presumed or confirmed positive COVID-19 mother will stay in the room with the mother, if both the baby and mom are well. Mom must wear a medical mask and must perform hand hygiene when feeding or handling baby. You must have a healthy support person present to help care for your baby for the duration of the stay. Only the essential care partner is permitted.
- For babies requiring a follow-up appointment in our clinics (Jaundice or Breastfeeding), two (2) parent(s)/caregiver(s) may accompany the baby. If the baby requires admission for treatment, both parent(s)/caregiver(s) are permitted to stay with baby.
Visiting Policy in Special Care Nursery (SCN)
- Visiting in the SCN can include parents (or the two people assigned to wear baby bracelets) and grandparents.
- For parents coming in from home (or the two people assigned to wear the baby bracelets) and baby still admitted to SCN, there is no time restriction for how long the parent(s)/care partners can stay once here. Please be mindful of appropriate physical distancing from other parents that are visiting at the same time.
- Grandparents may visit between the hours of 2pm and 8pm. One grandparent is permitted at the bedside in the SCN at a time and must be accompanied by a parent or support person wearing a band.
- All parents/care partners/grandparents must screen negative for COVID symptoms, wear a mask, and perform routine hand hygiene. To keep our babies safe and well, parents who fail the COVID screening process will not be permitted to visit in the SCN. Grandparents with COVID symptoms will not be permitted to visit.
- Babies requiring admission to the Special Care Nursery, and whose mother is presumed or confirmed positive, will be isolated. Visiting restrictions for the isolated baby may vary. Please check with your healthcare team.
Please read this document for more information on getting a cesarean section during COVID-19.
We got this. Rest assured, you and your baby remain our priority.
Let’s get your baby into this world – it needs a little more joy and happiness right now.
The Childbirth Program & QCH
October 13, 2022