Frequently Asked Questions On Scheduled Surgeries
How did the hospital decide to proceed with scheduling surgeries?
At Citrus Memorial Hospital, we have been focused on planning and prepping to safely return to routine patient care services, including surgeries and procedures. On April 29, 2020, Governor DeSantis, by executive order, allowed for elective procedures to resume (EO-112).
Elective, or scheduled procedures, are not the equivalent of “optional” procedures that can be delayed indefinitely – a better word for elective procedures is scheduled procedures. Sometimes, deferring important medical procedures can result in patients unnecessarily suffering at home, and later seeking care only when their conditions have become more serious.
As we continue to monitor the trajectory of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Citrus Memorial Hospital has begun to thoughtfully reintroduce these elective surgeries and procedures.
How will my experience be different now compared to before COVID-19?
We have implemented several important precautionary measures across our facilities. They include:
- COVID-19 pre-op testing is required 72 hours prior to elective surgery.
- Temperature checks are performed on our caregivers prior to entering the hospital.
- Screening processes are in place for all patients, visitors, and caregivers before entering facilities.
- Social (physical distancing) is required at all times by patients, visitors, and caregivers.
- All our caregivers wear masks throughout out facility.
- Patients admitted after surgery or a procedure will be placed in an area where no one has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Heightened infection prevention policies are instituted, including the removal of high-touch items like magazines and toys.
- We are prohibiting food and drinks in clinical units to prevent the spread of illness.
- We have updated our visitor policies, which will remain in place for the duration of the pandemic.
- We continue to follow current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on hand hygiene and social distancing.
Is it safe to return to your facility? How can I be sure the room, the X-ray machine, the operating room, and the recovery room are safe?
Because we deal with infectious diseases on a daily basis, we are uniquely equipped to safely manage COVID-19. Enhanced cleaning measures, constant housekeeping, access to alcohol-based hand gel and regular sanitation are all part of our daily routines. We have also added universal protections, including universal masking, comprehensive screening, and the treatment of all inpatient COVID-19 patients in an isolated area of our hospital.
How can I be confident my doctors and nurses don’t have coronavirus?
Staff and physicians are screened for COVID-19 symptoms and our clinical care team colleagues are not permitted to work if experiencing any respiratory symptoms. Universal masking is in place, and we are stocked with personal protective equipment (PPE) for all of our clinical teams.
Am I more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 at a healthcare facility than other locations?
Few settings outside one’s own home have as many protections in place to prevent exposure to COVID-19 as our hospital. Our protections ensure everyone inside the building has been screened, those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are kept separate, and everyone is instructed to wear a mask and observe social distancing.
Will I be tested for COVID-19 before my procedure?
Yes, you will be tested prior to your surgery or procedure. Patients must be tested 72 hours prior to their surgery or procedure. It can be performed at the hospital, or through our hospital’s drive-up testing if a patient qualifies.
Will my family be able to be with me? If so, will they be safe?
We continue to maintain every precaution when keeping our patients, visitors, caregivers, and communities safe. Through guidance from the CDC, we currently permit one visitor to accompany patients when they come in for surgery or procedure. If a patient is admitted as an inpatient after their surgery or procedure, their visitor must leave.
Will my recovery be different? Will I be more likely to catch COVID-19 after a medical procedure?
Your surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits of surgery, including if there is increased risk of contracting COVID-19. It is important that you maintain all precautions the general public are asked to follow. As always, we are here to support you in your recovery, whatever the circumstances.
What if I’m experiencing symptoms similar to COVID-19?
If you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, please let your physician know immediately.
If your hospital continues to see an increase in COVID-19 patients, will you change your policies?
We are constantly evaluating our hospital resources, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), intensive care unit bed availability, and making adjustments to our approach if and when protocols need to evolve. We also are in continuous communication with local healthcare delivery systems, including state and local health officials, and those surgeons who have direct responsibility for their patients. We continue to follow Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recommendations as they evolve. Our hospital will accommodate procedures that physicians determine to be appropriate within those recommendations.
Where can I get more information about COVID-19?
The CDC has a robust website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. The CDC also houses responses to commonly asked questions on their website. We make every effort to ensure our own website is current, but given the nature of policy updates, it’s always best to call your facility to verify the most up to date information.