Elective Surgeries and Caring for COVID-19 Patients
Guidance on Elective Surgeries & Procedures // Connecting with Your Healthcare Provider
- Will I be tested for COVID-19?
As of March 8, 2021, pre-operative and pre-procedure COVID-19 testing will be at the discretion of the ordering physician or surgeon. If you are undergoing an outpatient procedure, your provider may place the order for the test, and if so, the hospital will reach out with instructions for scheduling. If your test happens to be positive, your procedure will be postponed, and you will be given instructions related to your care.
- Is the hospital clean and safe?
Our hospital is clean and safe -- just like it always has been! One of the core elements of properly managing infectious diseases is the cleanliness of our physical facility. We continue to use the most effective cleaning and disinfection protocols available in healthcare today. We are cleaning all high touch surfaces every 30 minutes, have implemented an electrostatic cleaning system to be used before a patient arrives and once a patient leaves a room, and our environmental services team is utilizing the same PPE and safety precautions as the rest of our staff.
- Do you have the supplies and capacity to accommodate my procedure?
Our clinical teams will conduct daily "go/no-go" meetings in which they will review crucial supplies such as PPE, medications, blood, space and staffing to ensure that we have enough to comfortably care for those undergoing elective/non-urgent procedures AND accommodate our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients. We are not booking our schedules to full capacity. Out of an abundance of caution and with the conservation of supplies in mind, we are not starting with a full schedule right away. Should things continue to progress positively, we'll increase our capacity on a week-by-week basis. This is for your safety and ours.
- Do you have enough staff to resume elective/non-urgent procedures?
Our team regularly monitors staffing levels to ensure a safe environment for all patients, providers and employees. In addition, we screen all employees daily for COVID-19 symptoms. We are confident that we have the appropriate staff and providers to resume elective and non-urgent procedures while also accommodating our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.
- Will my experience be the same as in the past?
Your experience in our facility may look a little different than in the past, but this is because we have new processes and procedures in place to further protect your health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- What should I expect during my procedure?
Upon arrival at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions and provided with a cloth mask (if you do not already have one). If you have your own mask or bandana to cover your mouth and nose, you can wear that. You may never see another patient while you are here, and that is intentional for now. We are currently trying to minimize overlap in an effort to promote social distancing, conserve resources, and protect the safety of all of our patients and employees. You are going to be asked COVID-19 screening questions multiple times by multiple people, up until you are admitted for your procedure. You may get tired of these questions, but we assure you they are for your health and safety, and that of our staff. You may never see the faces of your care team members under their protective equipment. We do regret this, as the personal connections we have with our patients and community are what keep us going. However, this is an important precaution we are taking to protect you and our clinical staff.
- How will I prepare for my procedure?
If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be asked to practice "safer at home" behaviors for seven (7) days to minimize potential exposure prior to your procedure. This means going a step further from social distancing -- trying only to leave your home for critical needs such as groceries or going to the pharmacy. If you need to leave for an essential purpose, you must wear a mask. You also will be asked to check your temperature twice a day during this seven-day period and report any result above 100°F to your provider. Finally, you will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure as an additional precaution.
- Can I still make an appointment with my doctor? Is telemedicine an available option?
Yes, many providers within the Lake Cumberland Physician Practices group are still accepting in-office appointments, however visitor restrictions and screening are in place. Read about those here.
Many of these practices are also now offering telemedicine visits. Patients who are concerned they may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 may also use these telemedicine appointments to help further reduce the spread of respiratory illness. Two types of telehealth visits are available: telephonic and televideo. A telephonic visit is simply a phone call with your provider and a televideo visit is a face-to-face visit through video with you provider using a video conferencing tool.
- To request this type of appointment, simply call your provider’s office, just as you would for an in-person visit.
- You will be given an appointment time and instructions for the best way to connect on your computer or phone.
- At your scheduled time, instead of coming to the office, you will call back or log in and be “checked in” by a nurse or office manager. Then you'll be transferred to your physician for the call or two-way video.
To learn more about our telemedicine offerings, please visit lakecumberlandphysicianpractices.com/telemedicine
Caring for COVID-19 Positive Patients
- Are you currently treating patients who are positive for COVID-19?
Yes, we are treating patients who are positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at our hospital.
- Where are these patients located within the hospital?
Currently, all patients who have tested positive, or those who are presumptive positve, and require hospitalization, are placed in an isolated unit dedicated to COVID-19 cases, within our hospital. Should this unit become full, our emergency plan includes the establishment of other secure and safe COVID-19 patient areas within the hospital, or in some cases, outside of the hospital, and away from patients who may be hospitalized for non-COVID-19 reasons.
- Who is caring for COVID-19 patients?
Dedicated teams of nurses and physicians in our COVID-19 unit and ER are caring for positive and presumptive positive COVID-19 patients. Negative-pressure air units are in place to ensure that the airflow from these areas of the hospital remains separate from our other patient, visitor and staff areas.
- What is an N95 mask and who should wear one?
An N95 is a type of respirator mask that can remove particles from the air that is breathed through it. N95 are capable of filtering out all types of particles, including bacteria and viruses. An N95 is recommended only for use by healthcare personnel who need protection from both airborne and fluid hazards (e.g., splashes, sprays). These respirators are not used or needed outside of healthcare settings. In times of shortage, only healthcare personnel who are working in a sterile field or who may be exposed to high velocity splashes, sprays, or splatters of blood or body fluids should wear these masks. N95 masks may be reused, unless soiled or wet.*
- What is a facemask and who should wear one?
The role of facemasks, or surgical masks, is for patient source control, to prevent contamination of the surrounding area when a person coughs or sneezes.? Patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should wear a facemask until they are isolated in a hospital or at home. As of April 1, all patients, staff, and visitors will be asked to wear a mask at all times.*
- Should I wear a mask everywhere I go?
It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. The CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.*
- How are you managing PPE? Do you have enough PPE?
While we currently have enough PPE available for our staff, we are following CDC guidance for the reuse and conservation of PPE where appropriate. The safety of our team members is always of the utmost importance to us, and we work within strict parameters for the use of medical-grade PPE for the protection of our frontline caregivers. LCRH's materials management team tracks daily usage and identifies areas of higher than expected use. This information is then used to implement additional conservation strategies tailored to specific patient care areas such as hospital units or outpatient facilities. Inventory tracking within our hospital also assists in confirming PPE deliveries and optimizing distribution of PPE supplies across all of our facilities.