Kangaroo Care / Skin to Skin Contact during COVID-19
Rev. 7 March 29, 2020
Every hospital needs to continue to monitor the risk of COVID-19 closely and make adjustments to policies, protocols, and visitor restrictions, as necessary.
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Kangaroo Care in Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units During COVID-19:
People suspected or confirmed positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) SHOULD NOT enter a neonatal or pediatric intensive care units so they cannot kangaroo care.
Depending on your hospital, the doctors and healthcare staff will make the decision whether to allow any parent to enter the unit to Kangaroo Care.
Raylene Phillips, MD, IBCLC from California, said on March 21, 2020: "If a parent of a baby in the NICU has a fever or upper respiratory symptoms, they should not even be in the hospital. If they have no symptoms of illness, skin-to-skin holding is just as important as it ever was." However, every situation and NICU is different, so the policies may vary.
Parents that have the green light to enter the intensive care unit and that are allowed to kangaroo care, must follow safety and infection control protocols from the hospital, and may include:
- Kangaroo Care as long as possible and stay by your baby’s bedside (i.e., pumping, breastfeeding, reading, etc.),
- Practice respiratory hygiene during kangaroo care. Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect yourself, your baby, and the people around you from viruses such as cold, RSV, flu and COVID-19.
- wear a mask where available;
- Wash/scrub hands often, especially before and after touching your baby, breastfeeding, and kangaroo care;
- Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces you have touched.
- Keep 6ft of separation with others whenever possible.
Here are the newly released IFCDC- Recommendations for Skin-to-Skin Contact with Intimate Family Members. Note that parents should not nap during kangaroo care unless they have a Kangaroo Care Device (wrap) that safely supports this practice. (See Competency 1.10)
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Wash Your Hands ----- Cover Your Cough ------ Practice Social Distancing