From birthing partners to visiting family in hospital, this is how hospital policies are relaxing

As the Covid-19 peak in some provinces appears to be on a downward trend and lockdown level 2 is expected to be announced soon, hospitals across SA are relaxing their regulations.

Netcare has eased visitations policies for expectant mothers across all its hospitals.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Here’s how visits and births have been affected:

Netcare

Netcare has relaxed its visitation policies and will now allow birthing partners to accompany expectant mothers to their antenatal visits.

Jacques du Plessis, MD of Netcare’s Hospital division, told TimesLIVE the amended policies will be applicable to expectant parents who will be required to undergo strict Covid-19 screening processes and assessments.

“Partners will also be required to adhere to strict infection prevention measures that have been put in place to ensure the safety of our patients and health-care workers.”

Du Plessis said entry will be disallowed to fathers who display Covid-19 associated risks.

The hospital will continue to allow partners during the births of babies as well as rooming in. Du Plessis said in instances where “infrastructure does not make rooming-in possible”, the partner can visit the newborn baby and mother up to twice daily.

General visits

Du Plessis said the amended provisions do not extend to general visitations.

“Restrictions applicable to the general visitation of patients in hospital, implemented at the start of lockdown, remain in place, with certain exceptions. Requests for visitation beyond the exceptions can be made to hospital management and will be accommodated as far as possible,” he said.

In the paediatrics, nursery and neonatal intensive care unit (Nicu), one parent will be allowed at a time after having undergone strict Covid-19 risk assessments and digital screenings. Du Plessis said siblings and grandparents are not allowed into the unit.

Mediclinic

Dr Stefan Smuts, chief clinical officer of Mediclinic Southern Africa, told TimesLIVE that when SA was hit by the coronavirus, visitations of all patients were temporarily disallowed.

He said with most provinces having passed their peak, non-Covid-19 patients will now be able to see their loved ones.

“These measures will allow non-Covid patients to indicate a designated visitor during their admission. The designated individual will have access to visit their relative during a set window period in the day,” he said.

Covid-19 patients will continue to communicate with their loved ones virtually.

Birthing partners

On childbirth, Smuts said Mediclinic had not imposed any restrictions for birthing partners. He said partners were allowed entry if they tested negative for Covid-19 at the time of the child’s birth.

“We have also retained the right for a partner to visit the mother and child each day, and where possible, rooming in has continued.

While we have permitted partners access to visit once a day, this has not had a time limit attached. Boarding for the partner is still permitted where the facility is able to accommodate this option,” said Smuts.

TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)

BY CEBELIHLE BHENGU

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