Since the coronavirus has arrived in the US, hospitals across the country have postponed non-essential medical procedures due to safety concerns. Now, as COVID-19 plateaus and declines, facilities and clinicians are preparing for a resumption of procedures and surgeries.
Due to the large number of procedures that have been postponed, experts state that resumption of care in operating rooms and procedural areas may place a significant strain on healthcare workers and hospitals.
The American College of Surgeons (ACS), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), and American Hospital Association (AHA) have issued a joint statement regarding new guidelines for resumption of care after the first wave of COVID-19 has ended.
New Guidelines for Post-COVID-19 Procedures and Surgeries
The statement outlines the transition in 8 parts. The items are described as “a list of principles and considerations to guide physicians, nurses and local facilities in their resumption of care in operating rooms and all procedural areas:
- Timing for Reopening of Elective Surgery
- COVID-19 Testing Within a Facility
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Case Prioritization and Scheduling
- Post-COVID-19 Issues for the Five Phases of Surgical Care
- Collection and Management of Data
- COVID-related Safety and Risk Mitigation Surrounding Second Wave
- Additional COVID-19 Related Issues
According to a press release from the AORN, highlights of the statement include:
- Implement a policy for testing staff and patients for COVID-19, accounting for accuracy and availability of testing and a response when a staff member or patient tests positive.
- Form a committee – including surgery, anesthesiology and nursing leadership – to develop a surgery prioritization policy, which factors in previously canceled and postponed cases, and allot block time for priority cases, such as cancer and living donor organ transplants.
- Adopt COVID-19-informed policies for the five phases of surgical care, from preoperative to post-discharge care planning.
- Collect and assess COVID-19 related data that will be used to frequently re-evaluate and reassess policies and procedures.
- Create and implement a social distancing policy for staff, patients and visitors in non-restricted areas in anticipation of a second wave of COVID-19 activity.
All of the organizations involved in the joint statement will continue to monitor the coronavirus crisis and assess its impact on the healthcare system and its patients.
You can visit the ACS, ASA, AORN, and AHA websites for regular updates on COVID-19 and resumption of standard medical procedures and surgeries.
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