By AMBER GINTER
Southern Ohio Today
Adena Regional Medical Center has found a solution to a safety issue that arose at the hospital as a result of family members wanting to see newborn babies.
Traditionally, excited family members would wait anxiously in waiting rooms before getting a look at a mother’s bundle of joy. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, altered protocols and limited access to the mothers and their babies.
“Prior to coronavirus, an expectant mother could have up to five visitors at a time while in labor and delivery, and an unlimited number of visitors once moved into the mother/infant rooms after giving birth,” said Jason Gilham, Communications Manager at Adena Health System.
Once the virus became a factor, expectant mothers were limited to one support person during labor and delivery and for the remainder of their hospital stay. As a result, the change in these protocols has caused considerable stress on supportive families.
“We were seeing that families were attempting to view babies through the (patient room) windows, and that’s not the safest manner,” said Tasha Turner, nurse manager of pediatrics and the nursery. “We were concerned someone was going to get hurt because it was happening almost every day.”
Standing on chairs, peering through windows, and climbing ladders to get a glimpse, Turner said that safety hasn’t been the only concern at risk.
“They were usually trying to look into a patient room, which also could lead to issues if they went to the wrong window and looked in on somebody else’s family, and we don’t want those kinds of things either,” Turner said.
While finding a safe and proper solution to this problem seemed daunting, Turner said fresh ideas have been discussed and explored at length in looking for a feasible outcome. Finding a safe way for families to view newborns without threatening safety, Turner said a child and mother’s well-being must come first.
“We walked around our unit and thought about the best place one could look at a baby, and we found an area in the Mother/Infant – it’s a large window facing out toward the parking lot,” Turner said.
As a result, a new wooden ramp leading to a platform outside that window just off the hospital’s northeast corner has been added. Marked with signs and guidelines, families can schedule times to view the new baby through the window.
“We want to make sure, especially at the beginning, that we’re keeping an eye on that area to make sure they’re doing it safely. We don’t want moms picking up the baby to show them because we’re a little bit worried about babies being dropped,” Turner said. “We made the viewing area in a manner that somebody can come up to the window and see the baby in a crib; they don’t have to pick the baby up out of there.”
According to Gilham, this new approach earned Adena a spot this summer on Newsweek’s 2020 list of Best Maternity Care Hospitals. For more information, visit www.adena.org.