What INFANT is doing in response to COVID-19

Thursday 23 April 2020

COVID-19 is the most significant public health crisis in 100 years. Its impact will be felt for decades and it is already changing in unprecedented ways how we live, work and carry out our lives.  

INFANT, as a Maternal and Child Health Research Centre, is particularly conscious of the impact of COVID-19 with many of our colleagues and collaborators working directly in the health system in Cork, in Ireland and across the world, especially colleagues in Cork University Maternity Hospital and Cork University Hospital.  

The safety and wellbeing of all our staff, students, colleagues and stakeholders, including the many families and children participating in our research studies is our main priority in this uncertain time.  

So what is INFANT doing?
  • Many INFANT staff remain in or have redeployed to the frontline whilst others have made the transition to working from home and continuing our vital research to improve outcomes for mums, babies and children.  
  • INFANT has accelerated research and innovation projects that can immediately impact staff, patients and families.  

For example, we led the implementation of a novel “Virtual Visitation” solution for parents and extended families of babies in the neonatal ICU to alleviate separation anxiety and to practically support the necessary social distancing measures to protect vulnerable patients from COVID-19.

  • Many of our other researchers are redeploying INFANT skills, expertise and research towards COVID-19 focused outcomes such as remote vital sign monitoring, rapid blood tests, infant, maternal and paternal mental health and the long-term impacts caused by COVID-19 stresses and anxieties on developmental and behavioural outcomes. We have also donated research space and infrastructure to facilitate COVID-19 displaced clinical activity and are collaborating with clinical colleagues to develop data registries e.g.the NPEC register and in paediatric pneumonia - both will be valuable clinical and research tools for the future. 
  • INFANT clinicians, allied health staff and their colleagues have led the creation of national guidelines for best practices in maternity and neonatal care under COVID-19 and INFANT staff have led the way on educating and communicating with the public on how COVID-19 is impacting maternal, newborn and child health.   

- COVID-19 infection Guidance for Maternity Services National Guidelines 

The BJOG COVID-19 Resource Centre 

Neonatal Clinical Advisory Group 

  • We have created a dedicated COVID-19 Hub for families, researchers and healthcare professionals to collate all the emerging scientific literature and clinical guidelines that relate to COVID-19 during pregnancy, birth, newborns and early childhood and to keep you updated about what we are doing here at INFANT.  

We acknowledge the tremendous efforts of our INFANT and HSE colleagues in the health service and the generous support of corporate and individual donors who have helped fund some of our COVID-19 response to date.

We welcome any other donations or supports that can help us through research, public and patient involvement, and clinical practice.

Please contact us at infantcovidresponse@ucc.ie if you wish to help, seek information, or discuss opportunities to collaborate.

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