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September 4, 2021 -- Acute Care Site Access

The Doula Association of Alberta (DAA) has reviewed the public health measures recently issued by both the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services and has noted the following information, as it relates to birth professionals and Alberta birthing families: - Masks are mandatory in all publicly accessible spaces and workplaces. Birth and postpartum doulas will be affected by this mandate when conducting business in public facilities such as coffee shops, educational spaces, and office settings, in addition to at acute care sites (which remains unchanged). - Albertans are encouraged to limit in-person contacts. Unvaccinated Albertans are strongly recommended to limit indoor social gatherings to close contacts of only 2 cohort families. Birth and postpartum doula services, conducted in public or private settings, are not "social gatherings"; doulas provide educators and personal caregivers under a contractual and fee-based (in most cases) relationship. As per the Member Standards of Practice, the DAA advises members to establish service contracts with all clients, whether working for-fee or pro bono. - Effective October 16, 2021, Alberta Health Services will require all employees, subcontractors, students, and volunteers to be fully immunized for COVID-19. This vaccination requirement does not affect doulas unless they hold a distinct and separate contractual relationship with AHS. As unregulated, independent care providers, doulas are unaffected by this mandate. Although a doula operates within AHS facilities, as an independent perinatal professional, a doula is employed directly by their client and not by the health care system. As is "the doula way," the DAA will support members in investigating and pursuing what is best for themselves and their family. - At this time, Alberta Health Services has not made changes to the Designated Support Persons (2DSP) policy currently in place at all acute care sites province-wide. As per this policy, two Designated Support People will be permitted to attend with a given individual in an inpatient setting except in circumstances of limited space (eg: triage rooms) or at sites under active outbreak status. Should a doula be denied access to an acute care site, they shall report this denial to the DAA by contacting their Zone Liaison and by submitting a "2DSP Report," available on the Association website. Alberta doulas are eager to maintain normal operations in hospitals across the province, where more than 90 percent of all births take place. As such, the Doula Association of Alberta will proceed, as scheduled, to discuss professional doula access at acute care sites with stakeholders from Alberta Health Services as part of an ongoing Working Group, commencing in September 2021. Any future updates to acute care site accessibility and public health guidance will be released by the DAA as necessary. ------------------------------------- For more information: Lindsey Bowns Public Relations Manager, Doula Association of Alberta Media Cell: 403.971.8499 Email: doulaassociationofalberta@gmail.com www.doulaassociationofalberta.com

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