Phased relaxation of visiting restrictions at University Maternity Hospital Limerick confirmed

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The restrictions at UMHL are being eased given the recent decrease in the local transmission of the disease across the region and the continuing roll out of vaccines.

UL Hospitals Group has announced the gradual relaxation of a number of Covid-19 restrictions regarding access to University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL).

The restrictions are being eased given the recent decrease in the local transmission of the disease across the region and the continuing roll out of vaccines. 

The option of having a nominated partner present for anomaly scans has been reintroduced at the hospital and, from next Monday, April 26, fathers/parents of babies in the neonatal unit will be permitted to visit between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.

In a statement, UL Hospitals says weekly risk assessments are ongoing with a view to giving a nominated partner 45-minute visiting slots on the hospital’s postnatal wards, M1 and M2, from May 10.

Eileen Ronan, UL Hospitals Group’s Director of Midwifery, has welcomed the hospital’s first steps in the careful, phased relaxation of the visiting restrictions that have been in force at UMHL for almost the entirety of the pandemic.

“No-one could minimise the impact these restrictions have had on women using our services, their partners and loved ones. The restrictions run counter to the spirit of joy and happiness traditionally associated with pregnancy and the arrival of new-born babies, and we are delighted to be in a position where we can safely permit circumstances that allow parents and their children closer contact at this most important time in their lives,” Ms Ronan said adding that the restrictions have been necessary, and effective.

"During the surge of cases in the earlier part of the year, it was more important than ever to safeguard the health of mothers and babies and our staff. We are grateful for the cooperation of our patients and their families and the broader community. Thanks to their sacrifices, they ensured there was no outbreak of Covid-19 in UMHL, with all the dangers that would have created for specialist maternity staff, young babies, and mothers and mums-to-be,” Ms Ronan said.

In taking the decision to implement or relax restrictions, UMHL, like all maternity hospitals, 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.

Meanwhile, visiting on the basis of compassionate grounds will continue to be facilitated, as it has been throughout the pandemic. Birthing partners will also continue to be supported in attending the Labour Ward and Theatre.

UL Hospitals says all nominated partners must adhere to the wearing of face masks, observe hand hygiene and social distancing. Temperature monitoring is in place at the main reception, along with the completion of a COVID-19 screening questionnaire.

The measures are subject to change, and hospital management will continue to review the situation on a weekly basis, to plan for the safe, controlled and phased relaxation of restrictions, and to ensure all processes are safely introduced and managed.

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