COVID-19 and pregnancy - An update for our patients
We would like to take this opportunity to update you about your maternity care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and assure you that our dedicated team of expert nurses, physicians and midwives are committed to providing safe and effective care to every patient who walks through our doors.
As the region’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center is uniquely qualified to care for premature or critically ill babies. Every physician, specialist, and nurse who is part of our NICU team understands intimately the special care and attention our babies require. We also understand the special concerns this time may create for families.
The Team Approach
For every baby in the NICU, there is a family that needs comfort and support. Many concerns can arise related to the condition of your baby, separation from your baby and the challenges of having a newborn in the hospital. The NICU staff – including physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, a nurse manager, physical and occupational therapists and the pharmacy staff – work together as a team to provide support to families. Additional services, including access to a chaplain, are available.
The Neonatal Transport Team
Our NICU staff consists of registered nurses and respiratory therapists who are specially-trained in the management and transport of critically ill and premature newborns, as well as physicians, nurses, developmental therapists, case managers, dietary, physical and occupational therapists, and pharmacists. The transport team will safely deliver your baby to the NICU in the Women’s and Children’s Center of Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center in Panama City.
The Medical & Nursing Team
While in the NICU, your baby will be under the care of a neonatologist, a physician who specializes in the care of critically ill and premature newborns. Decisions about your baby’s care are made by the neonatologist. He or she is available to answer questions and provide support. Registered Neonatal Nurses complete the team, bringing years of specialized training and experience to care for your newborn.
Babies & Infections
Babies in the NICU are very susceptible to infections. This can delay recovery and may have long-lasting effects. To help protect against infections, we have developed the following guidelines:
- Limit number of visitors to parents, grandparents and siblings over 10 years of age and no more than two at a time.
- Visiting at change of shift (6:30am – 9:00am and 6:30pm – 9:00pm) should be limited and with the awareness that you might need to wait if rounds and /or treatments are taking place.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after holding or touching your baby. The nurses will instruct you on how to do a two-minute scrub;
- Please notify your baby’s nurse before visiting if you have any sign of illness, especially if you have been exposed to a contagious disease or have a cold sore. We ask you NOT to visit if you have an unexplained fever over 100 degrees.
- When visiting, please remain at your baby’s bedside. In order to protect everyone’s right to privacy, we ask that you not ask about other patients or look at their records.
Checking on Your Baby
If you are unable to visit the hospital and would like to check on your baby’s condition, please call your baby’s nurse for a progress report at (850) 747-7712. It may be best to call at times other than during nursing shift changes – 6:30am and 6:30pm. Feel free to speak to your baby’s doctor, nurses or other members of the family support team. They can help you with any questions or concerns that you may have.
For support and guidance in making breastfeeding decisions, a certified lactation consultant is available to assist you. Storage areas and supplies for breast milk are available while your infant remains hospitalized. Should you wish to breastfeed, we want to ensure your breastfeeding experience is a successful and rewarding one.
Parents may visit anytime. You will be asked to give the ID number found on your hospital ID band before any information about your baby can be released over the phone. Information is only given to parents. We ask that you share information with your family and friends. Visitors are limited to two at the bedside at any time
After your baby is admitted to the NICU, the staff will work with you to plan ahead for discharge. This will help ease the transition from the hospital to your home. If you have any comments, positive or negative, please share them with our staff or Director of Women’s and Children’s Services. She can be reached at 770-8967. The Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center NICU is committed to working with you to make sure that your baby receives the best possible care both in and out of the hospital.