UL Hospitals Group has confirmed that with effect from today, a further easing in pandemic restrictions on partner access at University Maternity Hospital Limerick, with extended visiting hours on the antenatal and postnatal wards and in the neonatal/high dependency units at the hospital.
From Tuesday September 28th, nominated support partners are being offered two scheduled visits of two hours daily on the postnatal wards (M1 and M2) between 1pm and 9pm. On the antenatal ward, M3, we are extending the existing 45-minute slot to two hours, scheduled once daily between 1pm and 8pm.
Also from today, we are increasing to one hour the daily scheduled access time for fathers/parents of babies in the neonatal and high dependency units.
In addition, nominated support partners of inpatients in single rooms on our postnatal wards M1 & M2 are being offered access from 1pm to 8pm every day. Single-room access on the antenatal ward M3 is being facilitated from 8am to 8pm daily in cases of high-risk induction of labour.
These are the latest in a series of measures taken since April to gradually ease pandemic restrictions on access to nominated support partners of women in UMHL, in line with national guidance on nominated support partner access to maternity units.
Eileen Ronan, Director of Midwifery for UL Hospitals Group, said. “We are pleased to further relax the pandemic restrictions on access to UMHL, which have had such an upsetting impact upon mothers, mums-to-be and their partners at this most significant time in their lives. We will continue planning for further relaxation of restrictions, but for now, this remains a gradual process, reviewed weekly, in the interest of ensuring the safety of all our service users, their loved ones, and our staff, and to ensure that all processes are safely introduced and managed.”
UMHL is now permitted nominated support partners to access the following areas, regardless of vaccination status, following the COVID-19 questionnaire and temperature screening at the reception of the hospital:
- Labour Ward: throughout labour and delivery
- Elective and Emergency C-Section
- Antenatal Ward M3: 1 x two-hour slot, between 1pm and 8pm
- Antenatal Ward M3 single rooms, for high risk induction of labour: 8am-8pm daily
- Postnatal Wards M1&M2: 2 x two-hour slots, between 1pm and 9pm
- Postnatal Wards M1&M2 single rooms: 1pm-8pm daily
- NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) / HDU (High Dependency Unit): One-hour slots
- EPAU (Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit)
- Emergency high risk admissions
- 12-Week scan
- Anomaly scan
- Compassionate grounds
At all times, we continue to strive for balance between the competing requirements for partners to be present and supporting women, while giving priority to the safety, welfare and privacy of all women and infants in our care, and our staff.
In taking decisions to implement or relax restrictions, UMHL has regard to three primary factors: the rate of COVID transmission within the local community, the number of staff in the hospital and the possibility of those staff becoming unwell, and the infrastructure of the hospital site. We also continue to note concerns about the transmissibility of the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
While these restrictions have been difficult, they have been necessary, and effective. We are grateful for the cooperation of our patients and their families and the wider community.
The spokesperson added: “As part of our efforts to keep the hospital safe and accessible for all service users, their loved ones and our staff, we are running a Satellite COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at UMHL this week, offering Pfizer vaccine to expectant mothers attending our antenatal clinics and inpatients who wish to be vaccinated, in line with National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) guidance that pregnant women can receive mRNA vaccines at any stage of pregnancy.
Any woman with an antenatal appointment at UMHL this week who would like to be vaccinated should bring a photo ID showing date of birth, such as a driving licence, Public Services Card, travel pass, passport, Garda-issued National Age Card, or school or college ID. If your photo ID does not have date of birth, bring your birth certificate also. Those aged under 16 years must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.”
Any expectant or new mothers with concerns about the vaccine may contact the maternity hospital’s dedicated vaccination helpline on 087-3593568 from 9am to 2.30pm, Monday to Friday.