Stamford Health executives say a $5 million donation from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation will be used to improve the Connecticut hospital's neonatal intensive care unit. The donation will also be focused on programs to improve care for women and children.
The three-hospital Central Maine Healthcare system closed its NICU due to staff resignations over the state's COVID-19 vaccination requirement. The system said it may have to reduce the number of ICU beds by half and medical-surgical beds by 40% if more staff members leave.
A National Foundation for Infectious Diseases poll found that 61% of more than 1,110 people said a flu shot was the best protection against influenza, although 44% of respondents said they were undecided about getting a flu shot or did not plan to do so. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky urged Americans to get vaccinated against the flu, noting that outbreaks will add to the strain on hospitals and health care professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A study in JAMA Pediatrics found that childhood vaccination rates and the proportion of children who were up to date with vaccinations were lower as of September 2020, compared with 2019 levels. "Interventions are needed to promote catch-up vaccination, particularly focusing on populations in which disparities in vaccination coverage were evident prior to the pandemic," the researchers wrote.
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Systemic racism, poor access to healthful food and housing and difficulty accessing prenatal care have all fueled what has been described as a maternal and infant health crisis in the US, says Venicia Gray of the National Partnership for Women and Families, and Dr. Sandhya Gardner, chief medical officer at Wellframe. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, they add, but digging into the root causes of bias, engaging at the community level, leveraging the potential of digital health and meeting the socioeconomic needs all people have for good health will help women, infants and their communities.
Researchers found a link between depression during pregnancy and an increased risk for preterm birth and low birth weight, with stronger links observed among Black Americans. The findings in Health Affairs show that "universal screening for depression during pregnancy remains a priority to promote early diagnosis and treatment to minimize harm to the maternal-infant dyad," the researchers wrote.
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A quarter of businesses and 40% of hospitals have mandated COVID-19 vaccines, according to a White House report. "By getting vaccinated themselves, supporting vaccine mandates, and ensuring that their patients have the most accurate and reliable information possible about the COVID-19 vaccines, nurses nationwide are fulfilling their professional and ethical obligations. We continue to urge the public to follow nurses' example and get vaccinated to reduce the risk of further hospitalizations and deaths to end this pandemic," American Nurses Association President Ernest Grant said.
Nurses in intensive care units are feeling the strain of staying isolated to keep themselves and others safe; mourning the deaths of many patients; caring for the seriously ill while watching people not take recommended steps to prevent serious disease; and serving as "the only conduit between dying COVID patients and their families," Utah Nurses Association Executive Director Liz Close says. "I have never heard nurses speak of being 'broken' like they have been recently," Close said.