The following was recently written by Baby-Friendly USA highlighting the work the UMC Family Birth Center did during a COVID-19 surge in 2020. UMC has permission to pass on for use.
Beginning this past August, UMC Health System in Lubbock, Texas, began experiencing a surge in COVID patients and decided to divert non-COVID patients to other floors in order to open up capacity. The Postpartum unit was among the units selected.
“At first, we had one ICU unit and one Med-Surg unit designated for our COVID patients,” said Malory Foster BSN, RN, CLC, Perinatal Quality Specialist at UMC. “When the COVID units got overwhelmed, they started spilling over into other units and we had to convert some of the postpartum rooms to med-surg.”
“Our nurses had to take care of things they weren’t used to at that point. For example…men,” she says with a laugh. “We all had to adjust a little bit.”
The team also had to convert some regular rooms in the Mom/Baby units to negative pressure rooms to care for mothers who tested positive for COVID. And the hospital added a medical tent to accommodate the increased demand for beds. Through it all, they were able to stay on track with Baby-Friendly practices.
“It was disruptive for sure,” says Malory, “but not to where processes changed.”
The biggest challenge, according to Malory, was the fact that information changed from day to day.
“It felt like every day, possibly every shift, information was changing,” she remembers. “What are the current facts and how do we use that information to effect change?”
In addition, it was also challenging to keep staff focused on daily tasks against a backdrop of larger, global issues.
“Everyone was consumed with COVID and the worry of transmission from provider to patient or patient to provider. I think the drive to do all the little things like charting felt secondary with everything else at the time,” says Malory. “So, it was a mindset issue we needed to overcome.”
But overcome they did.
“I have to give it to our staff,” says Malory. “They were willing to do what needed to be done. Looking back on it, I feel like it has gone fairly well for a pandemic.”
About UMC Health System
UMC Health System is comprised of over 4,600 team members who have made our organization “One of the Best Companies to Work for in Texas®” by Texas Monthly. Together with medical staff, volunteers, and leadership, we share a strong commitment to our patients—Our Passion is You! Why choose UMC? Because we are teaching the leaders of tomorrow while offering a culture of service today.