Events Prompt Update to Maternity Visitation Policy

(Honesdale, March 30, 2020)… Wayne Memorial Hospital has made the following revisions to its recently-revised maternity visitation policy, based upon events surrounding the possible relocation of patients from high-risk areas in bordering states and a travel advisory from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Wayne Memorial will now permit one visitor to accompany a pregnant patient who is an established patient of the Women’s Health Center, a Wayne Memorial Community Health Center obstetrical practice.  Screening measures for COVID-19 will be done with the patient and her presumed visitor, such as her spouse or partner, at Wayne Memorial in advance of admission.

This update negates a policy put in place two days ago which prohibited any visitors. That policy was prompted by hospitals in New York State to ban visitors, which led to Wayne Memorial receiving calls to admit pregnant women from New York and other high-risk areas.

“We were concerned about safety,” said James Pettinato, RN, Director of Patient Care Services. “We felt our only choice was to follow New York’s lead and not risk the safety of our patients and staff by overwhelming our relatively small rural health system with potentially-exposed patients.”

Shortly afterwards, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order demanding hospitals not prohibit visitors with pregnant patients—in other words, a mom-to-be should now be allowed a visitor.

“The Governor’s measure lifted some of the anticipated burden for those patients off our shoulders,” said, Pettinato, “as did the CDC travel advisory, also issued Saturday.”  That advisory urges residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel.

Wayne Memorial CEO David L. Hoff said the hospital did not expect to admit any pregnant patients who were not established with the Women’s Health Center, but no one would be turned away.  “We have stricter measures for this population group and their visitors, depending on where they are from and how much if any potential exposure they may have had to the virus.”

Pettinato added that in the event a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 maternity patient were to be admitted, the hospital has provisions to separate them from patients who are not positive and those who might be. “We have also made arrangements for breastfeeding for moms who are positive,” he said, adding that the same visitation policy would apply for these patients as well.

The hospital has restricted visitation in other areas as well. Please visit  www.wmh.org/covid-19-novel-cornavirus for more information and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus for information about the disease.