Northern Hospital of Surry County this week announced it has beefed up security for newborn babies.
“As part of its existing Infant Security System, a new visitor policy and protocols have been put in place – effective immediately – to further solidify the safety of all patients,” the hospital said in making the announcement. “Under the new policy, the Birthing Center is now a locked unit with limited access to only those visitors granted permission by the mother.”
In addition, access to the Birthing Center will be controlled via a two-part process – including the use of a designated elevator and a doorbell at the entrance to the center.
“These stricter guidelines are designed as an extra layer of protection for our patients – both moms and newborns,” explained Cade Wright, manager of the Birthing Center. “Our goal, one that is shared by our moms, is to create a safer environment for everyone concerned.”
Under the new protocols, visitors may gain access to the birthing center by using the designated visitor elevator situated around the corner from the entrance to the gift shop.
“A sign has been posted to the right of the elevator to let visitors know it may be used to access second-floor units – including the birthing center and med-surg unit,” said Greg Casstevens, director of Safety and Security for Northern Hospital. “No other elevators will access the second-floor.”
Once visitors reach the second floor, those wishing to access the center must ring a doorbell placed outside the entrance to speak with a staff member. As soon as the staff member has gained permission from the mother to admit the visitor or visitors, the door will be opened.
“As before, no one under the age of 12 will be permitted access to the Birthing Center except healthy siblings of the new baby,” the hospital said.
“We understand and encourage the joy and excitement of family and friends surrounding the birth of a new baby,” Wright said. “We have always protected our patients like family, which is one reason we have now created a more controlled environment for their care.
“We greatly appreciate the understanding and cooperation of our visitors as we implement these new policies and procedures,” she added, noting that any overflow of visitors will be invited to wait in the family waiting room, located just outside the Birthing Center entrance.