Iowa Specialty Hospital

A Guide for Patients Having Elective Procedures

Anytime a patient enters our facility, we want to make sure they have the most positive and safe experience possible.  Now during COVID-19, we're taking even more precautions.  The following outlines information that we have been providing our scheduled surgery patients regarding those precautions.

What is Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics doing to reduce the spread of COVID-19?

Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics has taken the following precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to patients and healthcare personnel:

  • We screen all patients, staff, and other guests before they enter the hospital for symptoms of COVID-19 disease. This includes temperature checks and asking screening questions.
  • We ensure that all public areas encourage physical distancing such as six-feet spacing of chairs or floor markings for social distancing.
  • All healthcare personnel who interact with patients will wear surgical masks and eye protection/face shields at all times. Procedures that have a higher risk of aerosol transmission are done with great caution, and staff utilize appropriate respiratory protection such as N95 masks and face shields.
  • Patients must wear a cloth face mask or other face covering when entering the hospital for tests, procedures or appointments..  If a patient does not have one, we will provide one for them.  However due to available quantities, we ask that patients provide their own mask whenever possible.
  • All healthcare personnel will follow the CDC recommendations, including frequent hand hygiene, social distancing, and surface cleaning and disinfection.
  • Elective surgical patients will be placed in areas of the hospital away from those who have COVID-19. Patients with COVID-19 are treated in designated rooms/areas with designated healthcare personnel using recommended protocols.

Can I have visitors with me during my procedure?

We are restricting visitors into the facility to prevent their exposure to ill patients and to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 unknowingly within the hospital since some persons can spread the virus before symptoms appear. Instructions will be provided to your family member/designee when they bring you to your procedure and when you are ready to go home. Your doctor will communicate with your family member/designee directly such as from the safety of their vehicle or by a telecommunication device following your procedure.

Who is at higher risk for severe illness with COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for COVID-19. Your doctor will work with you to evaluate your risks.

Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility

People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including those:

  • With chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Who have serious heart conditions
  • Who are immunocompromised (e.g., cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications).
  • With severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • With diabetes
  • With chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • With liver disease

What precautions should I take when I am discharged from the hospital?

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus. After you are discharged from the hospital, it is important to do the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home as much as possible. If you need to leave your home, wear a cloth mask and maintain a 6 foot distance from others. Wear a cloth mask to all follow-up appointments with your doctor or for any needed tests.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily in your home (e.g., tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, and sinks). Launder your clothing after returning home.

What symptoms of COVID-19 should I watch for after I return home?

Be alert to any new symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Please contact your doctor if you have any of following new symptoms after you return home:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever (≥100.4°F)
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Seek immediate medical attention if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, bluish lips or face, or new confusion or inability to stay awake. Call 911, if needed.

Our goal is to continue to provide elective surgical procedures as safely as possible so patients do not have any further delays in treatment.  While we all hope that this response is temporary, we may need to adapt our protocols as COVID-19 cases increase or decrease in our community.  We appreciate your patience and support as we continue to maneuver through this changing time.

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