16 December 2020
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to keep patients and staff safe, Health and Community Services (HCS) has suspended visitors across all mental health services and companions from attending ante-natal pregnancy scans.
A partner can still attend the birth if they are COVID negative.
Visiting at Jersey’s Mental Health facilities has been suspended which includes Orchard House, Cedar ward and Beech ward. Patients will continue to be encouraged to maintain contact with their relatives through phone or mail.
Medical Director of Health, Patrick Armstrong said: “We recognise that suspending visiting will impact on families and patients. However, it is vital that we keep our patients, their relatives, the public and our staff safe which remains our priority.
“I would like to reassure Islanders that our healthcare system is prepared and equipped to deal with this pandemic – and our services are adjusting to cope with the current challenges.
“We know there are times when extra support is needed during an ante-natal scan, particularly if the pregnancy is high-risk or complicated and we will provide additional support as it is needed.”
As the scans are a clinical examination, guidance from a number of regulatory bodies* prevents HCS from offering virtual attendance by partners or companions through online video calls or even filming the examination.
Patrick continued: “While we understand this will be frustrating, these restrictions are in place for a number of reasons including the fact we must aim for the shortest possible examination times to reduce risk for patients and staff.”
Holding a mobile phone can lead to a taut abdomen, which makes scanning difficult. It might also impede the ultrasound practitioner’s position, making it difficult to acquire some views. Filming an entire procedure may increase the risk of distraction for the practitioner and lengthen the examination procedure. The hospital staff will offer to take photos for patients, for their family if they so wish.
The hospital will provide a ‘cineloop’ – a sequence of digital images – which the patient can then record on a mobile device. This also means patients can get close to the screen to record a better image.
Patrick continued: “Once again, we hope that Islanders understand the difficult situation we are in and that visiting will resume once it is safe to do so. We thank Islanders for their continued understanding, as we maintain our services whilst also containing and suppressing the spread of COVID-19 in our community and health care settings.”