When Governor Kim Reynolds announced on April 24th that hospitals would be allowed to resume elective procedures, we at Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics were prepared with a plan. The hospital system began working on an elective procedure plan early on during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to rapidly resume care while keeping our patients safe.
As we resume elective procedures, our hospital staff evaluates each case individually and assesses the risk for each patient based on criteria established by our medical executive team. Once the patient and procedure have cleared the evaluation process, the patients are contacted to see if they are available and wish to proceed with their elective procedure.
During this call, COVID-19 screening questions will be covered, along with other normal processes such as scheduling a pre-surgery physical and lab work or gathering insurance information.
Additionally, we have implemented pre-operative screenings for COVID-19. Some people with COVID-19 may not have symptoms. So, patients will be tested for the virus before their procedure for their safety and the safety of our staff. This testing is required to be completed 48 hours prior to surgery. Patients will be contacted by one of our schedulers to arrange a time and location to have this completed so that the results are finalized before the scheduled procedure.
We have also changed some of our normal processes to limit patient interaction and exposure within our facilities. These changes include ensuring the admitting nurse is also the recovery nurse; limiting visitors and their movement within the facility; and limiting movement of the designated surgical team during the day.
The day before surgery, patients will be called to review instructions and to ensure nothing has changed in the patient’s health status. Surgery patients and their support persons are encouraged to bring their own masks to wear upon arrival.
We know several of our patients are currently staying closer to home making this an ideal time to have their elective surgical procedures performed. We want to do our best to meet those needs while being proactive with extra safety measures.