Official Statement from The Doula Services Association
Friday, April 3, 2020 **UPDATE** A MESSAGE FROM INTERIOR HEALTH Previously, sites in Interior Health were instructed that visitors in acute care facilities should be limited for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic to the mother and one consistent adult support person. To date, sites have considered doulas a support person and, based on the above instruction, doulas have been excluded if another support person is present.
Consistent with BCCDC guidelines for labouring patient, a labouring mother may now have a doula and one other support person in Interior Health Facilities provided the following guidelines are observed:
1. The doula must have recognized doula certification prior to the COVID-19 pandemic declaration, and must provide proof of this when arriving at hospital. 2. The doula will only provide support during the period of labour and delivery, and only for vaginal births. Due to risk of exposure, doulas will not be permitted to visit in post-partum or to attend deliveries in the Operating Room. 3. The doula must wear clean scrubs and clean shoes/booties upon arrival at hospital. 4. The doula will be screened at entry and must be asymptomatic when they provide support. If they become symptomatic during the admission they will need to leave the facility. 5. If the patient is suspect or positive for COVID-19, the doula will not be allowed to participate as part of the care team due to risk of exposure. 6. The doula will wear appropriate PPE while in the delivery room. 7. To comply with Interior Health directives for all healthcare providers to limit risk of exposure and transmission, services can only be offered at one facility (i.e. it is not possible to provide care at two or more different acute care sites)
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
** UPDATE ** BC Women's Hospital and The Fraser Health Authority currently allow doulas in addition to the birthing person's chosen birth partner. Please note - this may change at any time.
Prior to attending a hospital birth, we encourage you to practice social distancing to lessen the risk of you being a carrier. If you show any signs of illness, please do not attend the birth. Instead, send a back up. While in the hospital, please follow strict hygiene practices and follow the hospital staff's lead regarding covid-19 safety protocols.
Remember to bring your DSA ID with you as proof that you are a practicing doula. You can also request a Certificate of Membership as further proof. Email email@example.com to request this.
Monday, March 23, 2020
The Doula Services Association of BC is supporting public health recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As doulas, we are an unregulated industry so essentially, it is for each individual doula to decide how they would like to proceed with their business and supporting families.
The DSA's recommendation is to follow the health recommendations of the BC government by practicing social distancing and not leaving your home unless for essential reasons. We work with vulnerable folks who would be greatly impacted if they contracted the Novel Corona Virus.
When it comes to prenatal consultations and appointments, we encourage you to offer online digital support instead. Currently, most hospitals across the province are limiting hospital support to only one person, which may mean your hospital birthing clients may not be able to have your in person support. In regards to home birth and supporting families at home before heading to the hospital, our recommendation is to only go if you can guarantee that you and your clients have been practicing social distancing to lessen the chance of transmitting or spreading the virus to other folks in the birthing space.
If you choose to attend in person, please remember to be consistent with your hand washing, do not put your hands on your face and as much as possible, try to avoid body contact (which we realize is almost impossible). If you are experiencing any symptoms, do not attend the birth. Instead send back up or provide digital support.
If you choose to not attend, please know you are still a valuable member of their birth. We encourage you to still offer on call support through text, phone or video chat. While nothing can compare to in-person support, your knowledge, your comforting words and your care is still an essential element to supporting families and protecting the birth space.
For Postpartum Doulas, again our recommendation is to only go if you can guarantee that you and your clients are all practicing social distancing in order to lessen the chance of the virus spreading. You can also take advantage of digital support which can cover the informational and emotional aspects of postpartum doula care.
We understand that you are probably feeling very conflicted regarding what choices to make for both yourself and the families you serve. Please know that we are here trying to figure this all out along with you. You are welcome to connect with anyone on the Board of Directors if you want to talk or post on our DSA membership group if you want to connect with other doulas in our community. This is an unprecedented situation requiring complex and rapid decisions. We appreciate your patience as we continue to work to amend our recommendations.
Sincerely, Your DSA Board of Directors firstname.lastname@example.org March 23, 2020