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Authors

  1. Vanderlaan, Jennifer PhD, MPH, CNM, FNP
  2. Woeber, Kate PhD, CNM, MPH, FACNM

Abstract

The objective of this study was to describe the system's initial pandemic response from the perspectives of perinatal health workers and to identify opportunities for improved future preparedness. An exploratory survey was designed to identify perinatal practice changes and workforce challenges during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey included baseline data collection and weekly surveys. A total of 181 nurses, midwives, and physicians completed the baseline survey; 84% completed at least 1 weekly survey. Multiple practice changes were reported. About half of respondents (50.8%) felt the changes protected patients, but fewer (33.7%) felt the changes protected themselves. Most respondents providing out-of-hospital birth services (91.4%) reported increased requests for transfer to out-of-hospital birth. Reports of shortages of personnel and supplies occurred as early as the week ending March 23 and were reported by at least 10% of respondents through April 27. Shortages were reported by as many as 38.7% (personal protective equipment), 36.8% (supplies), and 18.5% (personnel) of respondents. This study identified several opportunities to improve the pandemic response. Evaluation of practice changes and timing of supply shortages reported during this emergency can be used to prepare evidence-based recommendations for the next pandemic.