November 17, 2021 -- Acute Care Site Access for Doulas
The Doula Association of Alberta (DAA) has received clarified guidance from Alberta Health Services regarding a patient's right to request a second Designated Support Person (DSP) in maternity environments at acute care facilities:
One DSP can be on-site with the patient. Requests by patients for additional birth support will be considered by site command posts on a case-by-case basis. Additional designated support persons are not all accepted, and must be requested and approved.
Requests should be made in advance by patients through communication with the delivering site (through their primary care provider, where possible). Requests for an additional DSP shall be forwarded for review to the Site Command Post (or delegate) by the service area during business hours.
Approval decisions for additional DSP do not sit with frontline staff.
Rationale to deny an additional DSP is based on the individual situation and the ability to maintain a safe environment for the staff, patient, and infant.
Requests for an additional Designated Support Person will not be approved if the DSP is a doula/hired caregiver who is not fully immunized as of December 1, 2021.
In-home personal care services such as prenatal support, birth services, and postpartum support are not affected by this change, and are permitted to continue as usual between vaccinated or unvaccinated parties (client and doula), provided masking, hand hygiene, and social distancing are observed, except for when direct contact is required to fulfill the service.
While the Doula Association of Alberta does not require that members be vaccinated against COVID-19, we acknowledge the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. We encourage members to review high quality evidence and make an informed decision for themselves with the support of their trusted primary care providers. The DAA also recommends that members connect with their clients respectfully and openly regarding their personal vaccination status, and to offer alternative in-person care solutions for clients giving birth in hospital (eg: virtual doula, shared care with a vaccinated back-up doula, transition to postpartum only care, etc.).
Clients should be reminded that regardless of their own vaccination status, they will receive unobstructed access to labor and delivery services in any Alberta hospital.
The Doula Association of Alberta will continue discussions around the role and responsibilities of doulas within acute care sites with Alberta Health Services as part of an ongoing Working Group. Any future updates to acute care site accessibility and public health guidance will be released by the DAA as necessary.
The provincial working group is organized by the Doula Association of Alberta, but is inclusive of all doulas across the province. The goal is not to achieve formal professional regulation, but to produce a collaborative guidance document to articulate the role of doulas in acute care settings.
The Doula Association of Alberta is a registered not-for-profit under the Alberta Societies Act. The DAA facilitates collaboration among doulas, educators, and healthcare professionals to optimize the accessibility of respectful, evidence-informed, and supportive doula care in Alberta. The Association is administered by a volunteer Board of Directors.
For more information:
Public Relations Manager,
Doula Association of Alberta
Media Cell: 403.971.8499