Your Motherhood Partner During COVID-19 Outbreak
BY KIRSTIN REED
Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) remains vigilant as the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves, and we are committed to being your partner in health – and in motherhood – during these unprecedented times.
Obstetrician gynecologist Amanda Flicker, MD, with LVHN, assures expectant mothers that LVHN is here to provide personalized, compassionate and comprehensive health care for you and your baby, even as COVID-19 causes us to implement temporary changes for your protection and for the safety of our caregivers.
When it’s time to deliver, our family birth and newborn experience is designed with your comfort and safety in mind. At this time, the safety of our patients, newborns and families is especially important so we have added special precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Know that some things will never change
We will continue to provide the same exceptional care with kindness and understanding to all patients who present to our unit. Your basic medical and obstetrical care will not be impacted.
We believe in the value and benefit of labor support so we will welcome one visitor for all patients who are admitted for childbirth.
Welcoming one support person for your comfort
To reduce traffic in our unit and to help ensure safety for our families, we are welcoming only one support person per patient for the length of your stay from labor and delivery through postpartum care. To keep you, your family and our staff safe, your support person may not leave the hospital and return during your hospital stay. We will make sure that you and your support person are comfortable during your full stay.
We encourage you to bring your electronic devices and chargers so you can use our free guest Wi-Fi to share your experience with your loved ones using technologies like FaceTime, Skype or Zoom. If you do not have those devices, we have some available for you.
Limiting visitors from high-risk areas for your safety
For the safety of all of our patients and families, we cannot allow any visitors from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel advisory. Regardless of the time frame of their home quarantine, recent symptoms or testing status, we must protect our patients, babies and staff.
We understand this decision is deeply troubling for some of our patients who reside in these states, and we will continue to closely monitor the situation locally, regionally and nationally to make adjustments as needed.
Taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Many people who are asymptomatic (meaning without symptoms) are unfortunately pre-symptomatic (meaning in the few days between getting infected and showing symptoms) of COVID-19. Recent studies and our own experience at LVHN have shown this fact to be true.
While most of us know to cough and sneeze into our elbow, we may unknowingly spread a virus when we do things like use our fist when we clear our throat or touch our nose when we have a tickle.
For these reasons, and based on the latest guidelines from the CDC, all patients and visitors are required to wear masks to reduce this method of spreading the disease. Masks will not be placed on newborns. Having masks on our staff, patients, and visitors along with excellent hand hygiene practices will provide the protection they need.
While we are asking patients and visitors to bring their own masks if they have them, we will provide masks if needed. We have received donations of reusable cloth masks that can be used.
With that in mind, if you are looking for a way to help and you have a talent for sewing, consider sewing and donating cloth masks for our expectant families.
What to pack in your hospital bag
Given that we are not permitting visitors to leave the hospital, consider adding a few extra things to your packed bag. Bring a few changes of clothes, personal hygiene products for your support person, snacks, refillable water bottle and anything else that might make your stay – and your support person’s stay – more comfortable. We will offer meals to your support person free of charge from our food services department.
Leaving the hospital
To keep your baby safe after you leave the hospital, we suggest limiting visitation at home. For visitors who do come to see your baby, consider asking them to wear masks or other face protection, if available. Practice thorough hand hygiene, social distancing of at least six feet and stay home whenever possible.
For the latest information and coronavirus updates from the health network, visit LVHN.org/covid19.