Visitor restrictions for children remain at Limerick maternity hospital

University Maternity Hospital Limerick

CALLS have been made for the lifting of all Covid pandemic restrictions at maternity hospitals to allow siblings visit newborns babies and mothers in hospital.

In reply to a query from the Limerick Post, hospital management have clarified that the majority of restrictions have now been lifted at the Limerick hospital.

Since the beginning of 2022, a spokesman told the Limerick Post, University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) has facilitated daily 8am to 9pm access for nominated support partners to all inpatient wards.

Nominated support partners, regardless of vaccination status, also have access for emergency high-risk admissions. Other areas of UMHL that nominated partners may access include the Antenatal Clinic for first appointment; the Labour Ward throughout labour and delivery; theatres including elective and emergency C-section; Antenatal and Postnatal Wards from 8am-9pm daily; and the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU).

“We also facilitate nominated partner access for the dating scan (12 weeks), anomaly scan (22-24 weeks), and growth scan (32-34 weeks),” said the spokesman.

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“In addition, we offer designated time slots for fathers/parents of babies in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and High Dependency Unit (HDU). Access on compassionate grounds is also facilitated. However, children are not currently allowed to visit the hospital.”

“While we seek to maximise opportunities to facilitate contact between inpatients and their families and loved ones at this most important time in their lives, we must balance this with the requirement to provide a safe clinical environment for all our service users and staff.”

“Due to the infrastructure of the antenatal clinic, women are being asked to attend the clinic at the time provided in their appointment letters. They are not being asked to wait outside.”

The spokesman added that in common with other maternity units, “limitations arising from older infrastructure and available space present ongoing challenges. Some exemptions may be possible, and are considered on a case-by-case basis.”