Sharon Hospital plans to close its maternity ward.
A news release from Sharon Hospital and Health Quest said there has been a decline in the number of babies delivered in the area and the hospital will shift its focus to other aspects of women’s healthcare. It’s not clear when the maternity ward will close.
“We’ve taken great pride in delivering beautiful babies over the years; however, a hospital’s mission is to serve the overall needs of the community population,” hospital President Peter Cordeau said in a statement. “Demographics demonstrate the critical need to turn our focus to providing healthcare to aging women.”
Claritas Company provides Sharon with analytics and it projects the hospital’s population of women in child-bearing age to decline by about 5 percent between 2017 and 2027, while the number of people over age 65 is projected to grow by 27 percent, according to a news release.
The hospital will continue to provide pre- and post-natal care as well as general gynecology and lactation services.
It also plans to create a women’s advisory group; bring a 3-D mammography unit to the hospital; expand services to include peri-menopausal care, heart health, integrative care, aesthetics and more.
“As demographics shift, the changes we make today will allow us to best prepare to meet our community’s healthcare needs and ensure our hospital’s long-term success and sustainability,” Joel Jones, chairman of the Sharon Hospital Board of Trustees, said in a news release.
The emergency department will receive training to provide care if an emergency delivery is needed after deliveries stop.
But not everyone is on board with the plan. Elizabeth Klippel, who delivered her now 3-year-old daughter at Sharon Hospital, said the news was discouraging and upsetting.
“My husband and I have thought about having more children, and being that I go to the doctors here in Sharon, I wouldn't feel comfortable going to another hospital,” she told NBC Connecticut.
Another issue is the distance – Klippel’s insurance does not allow her to go the New York hospitals, so she would have to travel 45 minutes to get to another hospital to deliver.
“The staff there is just incredible. they know what they're doing. they know how to take care of women and babies,” she said.
Klippel thinks closing the ward will discourage families from coming to the area.
“It tells people that you can age here but to grow a family you can choose somewhere else,” she said.
State Representative Brian Ohler was against the closure, and said officials are looking at ways to prevent it. Local leaders are scheduled to meet with hospital officials to discuss plans on Friday.