It’s amazing how “what’s really important” can change in a matter of days and even hours. Because the number of cases and the death toll has spiked around the world and here in the U.S., and because the news from experts has become more dire, the Corona Virus is now everyone’s top concern.
As workers on the frontlines of patient care, it is our responsibility to help identify COVID-19 cases to make sure that the spread of the virus is reduced as much as possible. Here are a few quick guidelines to help your ASC with policy changes to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic:
- Screen patients for symptoms before they arrive at your facility. Patients should be texted or emailed to confirm that they are healthy and show no possible symptoms of COVID-19 or any other illness. This can help to keep other patients and facility staff healthy. Having a patient screener and/or a patient communication sequence in place can help to manage this process.
- Limit visitors to the ASC. Try limiting one visitor per patient to facilitate care or treatment such as an ambulatory visit, procedure or emergent surgery. Make certain to screen visitors for flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough or sore throat, depending on the situation. Instead of coming in person family, friends and loved ones should use electronic devices and apps to keep in contact with patients whenever possible. Visitors can also be asked to digitally stay in touch with the ASC during procedures instead of staying in a waiting area.
- Be mindful of cleaning your facility more thoroughly than normal procedure and screen visitors entering the outpatient surgery center. The CDC suggests that you should wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water or use alcohol-based hand gel frequently, especially as a healthcare worker on the front line. Refrain from handshakes or contact and ask visitors to do the same. Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue that is then discarded. Remember to clean surfaces like cell phones, desks and keyboards along with standard operating procedure cleaning.
We hope these policy tips can help you to navigate a difficult time period. Please share any other tips or policy changes that you enacted in your own ASC.