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Is it safe to go back to the hospital or doctor?

With most elective surgeries and procedures resuming, Boca Raton Regional Hospital wants patients to reschedule postponed care or  get treatment for symptoms they ignored for fear of the coronavirus.

Here’s remarks from “Healthcare in 2020: What You Can Expect,” Baptist Health’s virtual press conference. Boca Regional is in the Baptist Health South Florida network.

Dr. Samer Fahmy, Boca Raton Regional Hospital’ chief medical officer:

  • Baptist Health team leaders met systemwide weekly to come up with a format to resume elective surgeries and procedures in stages: same day in and out; overnight and longer stays. Every surgical patient is tested pre-procedure to make sure the patient is not Covid-19 positive.
  • There’s testing at the ER. Most patients being admitted are tested with immediate results. If a physician is admitting a patient with a high suspicion of Covid, that patient is tested again and there are strict isolation measures. The patient is placed in a room by themself and staff wear personal protective equipment until Covid is ruled out.
  • “If you go to the ER, there’s a separate area for patients with respiratory symptoms. We have proper safety protocols, even in the exam rooms.”
  • Covid patients are in a separate unit with specially trained staff and closer monitoring. Many areas have special elevators, special imaging equipment and separate transport.
  • Maternity patients are tested before delivery.

Only the partner is admitted as a visitor.

Nancy Batista-Rodriguez, CEO, Baptist Health Outpatient Services,  

  • For urgent care or physician office visits, expect screening process from front door staff. Staff and physicians wearing a mask. Waiting room social distancing with markings on floor. Front desk plexiglass. Snack and coffee stations suspended.
  • Touch-free temperature scans. Lobbies marked to sit or stand. Patients can wait in their car until called to come in. Masks required.
  • When will visitors be allowed again? “Patients are using FaceTime or iPad technology as an interim measure. We’re looking to phase in visitors in the next several weeks with limited hours. Once we resume visitors, there will only be one visitor with you for surgery.
  • “It’s safe to have a mammogram. All imaging has safety measures in place, before and when patients get there.”
  • “As we go into a new normal going into public spaces, make sure masks are on, especially in elevators. So, carry and have it with you.

By Marci Shatzman

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