Life Healthcare’s maternity care approach during these unprecedented times

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Life Healthcare’s maternity care approach during these unprecedented times

The birth of your child is a very special occasion and we want both parents to share in this life-changing experience. However, as a country we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19. Combating the spread of this virus by reviewing the necessary in-hospital guidelines and services continues to be our top priority.

Are you an expectant mother and will you be giving birth in one of our hospitals soon?

COVID-19 has changed so many aspects of our lives, including how new life is brought into the world.

Here is what to expect before, during and after giving birth in one our facilities:

Pre-admission COVID-19 testing

We have introduced pre-admission COVID-19 testing to identify if prospective mothers may be carrying the virus before arriving for the birth. We apply the recommendations of the SA Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for expectant mothers. This includes:

  • Tests for COVID-19 from 38 weeks’ gestation onwards (if possible at least 72 hours before admission).
  • Self-isolating at home, for at least seven days prior to the expected due date.

In the event of an urgent unplanned admission, the test for COVID-19 will be done immediately on admission. If the mother-to-be is COVID-19 positive or their status is not known (for example, waiting for results with an unplanned admission), additional protective equipment will be worn by hospital employees and doctors.

Important maternity visitation information

In general, the visitation policies outlined below apply, however please contact your hospital directly to find out whether there have been any changes to these restrictions. A hospital or region may, depending on the prevalence of COVID-19 at the time and the advice of the specialists at the hospital, re-impose or retain additional visiting restrictions in the postnatal wards.

During the birth

We welcome the presence of the father/partner during the delivery, but special precautions will be taken to limit contact with hospital employees.

The father/partner:

  • will be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during the birth of the baby in the delivery room or theatre. Our nurses will assist with the safe donning and doffing of PPE.

Duration of the visit:

  • will be limited to the labour and delivery or Caesarean section until the mother is transferred back to the ward.

After the birth

  • Only the father/partner will be allowed visitation privileges for one (1) hour per day during the postnatal period until discharge.
  • As for all visitors to the hospital, the partner will be screened for any COVID-19 related symptoms at the entrance to the hospital.
  • Meticulous infection prevention measures will apply during the visit (hand sanitisation on entering and leaving the ward, surgical mask, maintain social distancing from other patients and employees, restriction to the designated visiting area).
  • The visiting time will be at the discretion of the unit manager in order to stagger visiting hours. Please cooperate with the ward staff to minimise the risk of any infection being brought in or acquired while visiting in the hospital.

Should the expectant mother test positive for COVID-19, a different approach will be taken to try and prevent the spread of the virus. In this case, spouses/partners will, regrettably, not be permitted to accompany her to the hospital for the birth.

Your doctor will provide further advice on these measures and expectant parents are advised to contact their admitting doctors for more information around the admission protocols.

We ask for your patience during this time and would like to assure you that we continue to ensure that the risk of infection of all our patients, employees, doctors, and visitors in our hospitals is reduced.

NOTE

The risk of a COVID-19 infection remains for patients, employees, visitors and communities. HOWEVER, we continue to exercise utmost caution with ensuring COVID-19 safety measures are in place in the interest of our patients, employees and doctor safety.

We wish all expectant parents the very best for the safe arrival of their little one.

Safety measures at our hospitals

The following key safety measures are in place for the safety of all who enter our hospitals and to limit the spread of infection, in accordance with best practice infection prevention standards:

  • Routine screening of all persons entering our facilities to identify present signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection to establish the risk of exposure
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) provided to all employees and doctors in line with clinical standards. Employees have been trained on the appropriate use of PPE
  • Universal masking – all healthcare workers, employees, outsourced services and persons entering/admitted to the facility are required to wear a mask at all times
  • Social distancing is enforced throughout all areas of Life Healthcare facilities
  • Hand hygiene continues to be enforced in our hospitals
  • Restricted visiting hours and access to all Life Healthcare facilities
  • Environmental cleaning according to infection prevention standards. Surfaces are regularly disinfected

As the situation continues to evolve, we are frequently consulting with the government, our doctors and employees to ensure that our protocols and processes remain relevant to the needs of our patients.

For more information on COVID-19

  • Visit the NICD (National Institute for Communicable Diseases) website. Click here.
  • Contact the NICD on the following support numbers: NICD WhatsApp support line - 0600 123 456 OR the NICD 24-hour hotline - 0800 029 999/ 0800 111 132.
  • Extensive knowledge on the Coronavirus, how it spreads and how infection can be prevented is also available on the Department of Health website. Click here.