Our partners, our heroes – continuing contraceptive care
By Mark Edwards
The global crisis that has gripped the world is affecting us all, personally and professionally. We are immensely proud of our healthcare partners who are on the frontlines.
Upstream North Carolina Advisory Committee member and Family Nurse Practitioner, Schquthia Peacock tests patients at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site. Photo Credit: Scott Sharpe, News and Observer
Amidst treating patients and saving lives, our partners are still focused on access to high-quality contraceptive care. One of our trained providers in Washington told us,
“We’re still asking people about birth control needs, trying to get them whatever method they want right then and there, and offering everyone emergency contraception to have on hand. Given the trauma and stress of this time, this is so important and can’t be missed.”
In Delaware, our partners made the quick transition to telehealth for all non-urgent health care services, including contraceptive care. They are utilizing Upstream’s guidance on providing best practices in contraceptive care with minimal disruption, and they are still seeing patients when possible. For example, one provider told us about a patient whose monthly Depo-Provera injection appointment was canceled at her normal clinic. But thanks to our community of practitioners, a federally qualified health center was able to see her that same day so she didn’t have a disruption in her birth control method.
“Our health center has considered contraceptive care among the list of essential services that can’t be postponed since we first began planning a pandemic response. The mode of service delivery may look different, with some opting for telehealth appointments or prescription birth control delivered to their homes by our pharmacy, but the breadth of care options available has not changed as a result of COVID-19.”
And in North Carolina, a staff member during a new agency partnership kick-off stated:
“With everything going on with COVID-19 and limits to how we normally do family planning, we will need Upstream’s services now more than ever. It’s good to know that Upstream has come up with alternative ways to continue the staff coaching and quality improvement that includes virtual options.”
Even while we continue to be encouraged by the prioritization of contraceptive care in this moment, we are keenly aware of the strain facing our healthcare system and that a great deal about the global impact of COVID-19 is still unknown. We will continue to follow the lead of our partners, meet them where they are, and adapt our approach as quickly as possible to meet their needs.
The next few months will present challenges, but we are focused on doing everything we can to ensure that we emerge from this crisis prepared and ready to deliver quality contraceptive care in a world that will have been changed forever.