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    NMCSD’s Labor and Delivery Ward Adjusts for COVID-19


    Photo By Seaman Luke Cunningham | 200729-N-LW757-1021 SAN DIEGO (July 29, 2020) Hospitalman Haleigh Turney (left) and ...... read more read more



    Story by Seaman Luke Cunningham 

    Naval Medical Center San Diego

    SAN DIEGO – Expecting parents may have many questions on their minds when it comes time to give birth. Having a baby comes with a set of challenges that may seem scary and overwhelming, and now, parents have another challenge to deal with: coronavirus (COVID-19).
    Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (NMCSD) Labor and Delivery ward takes precaution and adapts to updated research to ensure new parents and their children stay safe and healthy.
    For example, mothers-to-be are screened for COVID-19 symptoms and required to take a COVID-19 test three days before they are scheduled to be admitted to the hospital for delivery. Mothers who will be going into labor before being tested are treated by Labor and Delivery ward staff as COVID-19-suspected with all necessary precautions.
    NMCSD's Labor and Delivery ward has also created three negative pressure rooms for COVID-19-positive and COVID-19-suspected mothers who will soon give birth.
    Staff are now required to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE) when working in a labor bay. Additional training has been held to ensure the proper donning of PPE.
    Not every delivery is the same, and some deliveries happen faster than others, so staff are now alerted earlier that mothers are going into labor to allow additional time to don PPE.
    Most mothers want someone, whether a spouse, parent or sibling, to accompany them in the delivery room. NMCSD has changed its guidelines on visitation to labor and delivery to allow mothers one support person to be with them throughout the delivery. This person is screened before entering the ward, and are not allowed to leave the ward and return. The support person is not allowed to exchange this position with someone else in order to minimize the amount of personnel in a delivery space.
    Staff are now assigned to specific delivery bays, when in the past, they rotated through areas of the ward. They’re able to communicate with nurses through radios in order to minimize exposure to additional personnel.
    Lt. Bernadette Vingerhoets, a registered nurse assigned to NMCSD's Labor and Delivery ward, said that patients have been understanding of the new changes.
    “COVID-19 may cause additional stress for parents, but having these precautions in place has eased their minds,” said Vingerhoets. “Expecting parents know that NMCSD staff are doing everything possible to protect them and their newborn child.”
    Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Briana Sachner, a Sailor assigned to NMCSD's Labor and Delivery ward, has helped many new mothers give birth and has answered many of their questions.
    "I think when parents see [Labor and Delivery ward staff] donning our PPE and taking additional precautions, they feel safe and secure,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Briana Sachner, a Sailor assigned to NMCSD's Labor and Delivery ward.
    Staff are updated daily with new procedures to adopt in order to better protect patients and themselves.
    "I think that everyone on our team has been handling all of the changes really well," said Vingerhoets. "Our leadership has been very supportive of our staffs’ needs."
    The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many facets of healthcare are conducted, and NMCSD’s Labor and Delivery ward has adapted some of their techniques and practices to keep both staff and patients safe while delivering the high-quality healthcare they’ve come to expect. Mothers who will be imminently delivering their child are not referred out to a network provider.
    NMCSD’s mission is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality healthcare services and shape the future of military medicine through education, training, and research. NMCSD employs more than 6,000 active duty military personnel, civilians, and contractors in Southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere.
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    Date Taken: 07.28.2020
    Date Posted: 08.04.2020 17:56
    Story ID: 374763
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

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