NCH Message to Our Expectant Mothers
To our expectant mothers on Nantucket,
As we have seen the first confirmed cases of coronavirus on Nantucket, we write to update you on the ongoing changes at Nantucket Cottage Hospital that are being implemented to keep you, your baby, and the Birthplace staff as safe and healthy as possible.
The Birthplace at NCH is one of the most secure and isolated areas of the hospital. Under our rigorous infection control protocols, everyone who enters the hospital is screened for any viral symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, or shortness of breath). Moreover, the Birthplace is a locked unit for the safety and security of our patients and their babies, and only a very limited number of staff members have access to the unit.
The visitor policy at NCH has been modified to prohibit most visitors to patients in the hospital with a few exceptions, including obstetrical patients. Women giving birth at NCH are permitted to have one adult visitor, provided the person has no viral symptoms. The one adult visitor must be the same person throughout your entire admission at NCH. As your due date approaches, the NCH Birthplace staff will be available to discuss the current details of this policy with you.
As part of this policy, visitors are not allowed to accompany you to office visits. This includes any children, your partner, or other family members. We appreciate that this may be challenging but we need to reduce the number of visitors to our hospital and clinic as a way of protecting you and all of our patients. You may be able to use your phone or other technology so others can join the visit without being in the room.
NCH has cancelled or rescheduled non-essential visits and procedures, so you may be called by a member of our staff to discuss changing one or more of your appointments. We have, for example, reduced the number of prenatal visits in the office to only the most necessary times of the pregnancy. However, we are always available to discuss your health questions and concerns by phone, and if needed to see you in-person for an evaluation. As a reminder, our contact numbers are:
- NCH Office (Monday – Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM) 508-825-1000
- NCH Birthplace (24 hours/day, 7 days/week) 508-825-8228
For non-urgent questions we welcome and encourage Patient Gateway messages.
If you have an appointment or need to come to the hospital for delivery or another reason, and you have symptoms of a viral infection (fever > 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, or shortness of breath), always call us first to report those symptoms before you come. We want to be ready for you. As always, call 911 if you are having a true medical emergency.
As our experience with coronavirus illness grows, we continue to evaluate how to best protect you, our patients, as well as our workforce. Because of concern for transmission of infection from those that may not have symptoms, all Nantucket Cottage Hospital employees, both clinical and non-clinical, are now required to wear surgical masks while at NCH. Unless you have been told to wear a mask for other reasons, we do not recommend that patients without symptoms wear one.
We appreciate that these are stressful times and are hopeful that you will understand that these steps are being enacted out of an abundance of caution and with everyone’s best interests in mind. We look forward to caring for you and making your experience at The Birthplace exceptional in every way.
Tiffany Blake-Lamb, MD, MSc
Mimi Koehm, MD, MS, FAAFP
Nancy Lucchini, NP, MSN, APRN, BC
The Birthplace at Nantucket Cottage Hospital