Dear Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center Patients,
We would like to take this opportunity to update you about your maternity care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and reassure you that our dedicated team of expert nurses and physicians are committed to providing safe and effective care to every patient who walks through our doors.
We are taking every precaution to ensure that both our staff and patients are protected. While much is still being learned about COVID-19, the health and safety of our pregnant patients is and has always been our top priority. Every birth is unique and we will continue to ensure a safe environment for the most important moments in a mother’s life.
Before you arrive at the hospital, we want to make you aware of a few additional precautionary steps we are taking at this time. We have a number of screening questions in place for all patients and visitors before entering the building. Again, this is precautionary and helps maintain the safety of all involved, and limits the spread of any potential infectious illnesses.
Here are the questions you may be asked:
- Does the Patient/Visitor have a fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness, for example a cough or shortness of breath?
- Has the Patient/Visitor had close contact with a laboratory confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days?
All of our maternity patients are cared for in private rooms, which include their own bathroom. We ask that all patients and visitors remain in their room and avoid circulation in common areas as much as reasonably possible.
Our staff are dedicated to keeping you safe. All of our staff have been trained on hand hygiene and other infection control measures.
To protect yourself and our staff, it’s imperative that you follow the latest government advice about social distancing; stay away from public places and avoid anyone who has symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. Please continue to refer to the current guidance on infection prevention for yourself and your household; direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in regard to pregnancy and breastfeeding can be found here.
We ask patients and their named visitor to be particularly vigilant with respect to social distancing in the 14 days prior to admission. No children or additional visitors will be permitted.
The mother may also have a paid professional doula at her side for the duration of labor and delivery. We recognize the doula as part of the maternal care team, but the doula must pass our current screening process.
In the interests of the safety of our patients and staff, we have also introduced a strict visitor policy as follows:
- A single named support person of choice will be allowed to accompany you while you are admitted to the hospital. If your visitor has been self-isolating due to COVID-19 symptoms, or in contact with an individual who has had symptoms, they MUST NOT come with you to the hospital. If your support person cannot pass our strict screening process, they MUST NOT come with you.
- No children or additional visitors will be permitted.
Any mother with a confirmed COVID-19 case or who is experiencing symptoms will be supported in taking all the possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant. Whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding will be determined by the mother in coordination with her healthcare providers.
For those who have or are suspected to have COVID-19, we have created policies and procedures to help ensure that those who have remained unaffected are kept safe and well.
Rest assured that we have robust procedures in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our hospital and in the community.
To reduce unnecessary traffic to the hospital, all parent education classes and tours have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.
What to do when you go into labor
If you think your labor has started, or if you need to go to the hospital due to an emergency or concern about the baby, know that we will be here to support you.
We remain focused on providing you with outstanding care, and we have dedicated staff working hard to ensure you have a healthy and positive pregnancy and birth. Our first priority is providing you with safe and effective care, and we are committed to partnering with you in our efforts to care for you and your baby during this time.
We know this experience may not be what you imagined. But we will continue to go above and beyond to help you get the most out of this experience while adhering to the guidelines set in place to keep you and your baby safe and healthy.
Given that the situation and guidance around COVID-19 is changing regularly, up-to-date hospital information is available at https://gcmc-pc.com/covid-19/.
Brad Griffin, FACHE
Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center