Patients who have delayed surgery or other non-emergency procedures can now work with their physician to secure care as La Porte and Starke Hospitals have successfully resumed some outpatient elective services.
The hospitals are following Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s Executive Order allowing some elective surgeries and procedures in hospitals with a low or no-COVID-19 census. Safety remains the hospitals’ highest priority.
Numerous precautions for infection prevention, access control, social distancing and patient flow are in place to maintain a safe environment of care. Everyone who enters the buildings, including staff, is screened, and all employees, physicians and patients are expected to wear masks. The daily number of procedures performed is being limited and furniture in waiting areas has been spaced to maintain appropriate social distancing. Cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces and caregiving spaces has been intensified. Visitor restrictions for inpatients remain in effect, with exceptions for laboring mothers, pediatric patients, and end-of-life situations.
“As we reopen elective procedures, our physicians and caregivers are working diligently to keep every patient safe,” said James Leonard, DO, FACEP, Emergency Medicine Physician and Chief Medical Officer for both hospitals. “It is important to reschedule healthcare procedures that have been delayed so health conditions do not deteriorate. We also want to remind everyone that it is safe – and necessary – to seek immediate help in an emergency department for serious health emergencies like chest pain, heart attacks, strokes and other life-threatening conditions.”
Non-COVID-19-care zones have been defined in the hospital, where patients who are screened as negative for COVID-19 will receive care from dedicated staff. If, at any time, we are caring for COVID-19 positive patients in the hospital, those patients are grouped together in the same unit away from all other patients.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our patients’ and caregivers’ health and safety have been our primary concern,” said Ashley Dickinson, CEO, La Porte and Starke Hospitals. “We are ramping up cautiously to ensure safety for everyone. Patients can be assured that we are taking every precaution to protect them.”
The hospitals continue to closely monitor the inventory of test kits, personal protective equipment, medications and other needed supplies to ensure sufficient resources to support the number of patients in care.
Telehealth will continue to be available for visits at La Porte Physician Network offices, as needed. Clinic staff are being kept to a minimum to maintain appropriate social distancing. Appointments are being staggered and patients come in one at a time to minimize wait times.
The hospitals’ plan to restart elective procedures at the appropriate time was made in consultation with the board of trustees, medical executive committee and surgical leadership and follows all local, state and federal guidelines.