In accordance with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s guidance, OhioHealth will begin a gradual return to elective surgeries that do not require an overnight stay at all hospital and outpatient surgery centers beginning on Friday, May 1, the health system announced today (Thursday).
O’Bleness Hospital in Athens, which is part of the OhioHealth system, will start those elective surgeries on Monday, May 4.
The health system will carefully restart electives with additional protocols in place to ensure a safe environment for patients, visitors and providers, according to a news release.
“We have done a terrific job over these last few months of creating a safe environment for our caregivers, patients and visitors,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, senior vice president and chief medical officer at OhioHealth, said in the release. “As we resume electives, maintaining and enhancing that high level of safety will be at the core of all we do.”
The following protocols will be implemented at all OhioHealth care sites prior to the start of elective surgeries on Friday:
• Daily well-checks for associates, including temperature monitoring.
• Temperature screening for all patients and visitors entering OhioHealth facilities.
• Use of hospital-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) that is appropriate for the caregiver’s role.
• Masking for all associates, patients and visitors.
• Continued rigorous hand-washing protocols for associates
• Oversight by certified infection prevention practitioners who review all processes to ensure the highest level of safety.
• Continued cleaning of facilities and medical devices with hospital-grade products approved by the United States EPA to kill SARS-CoV-2.
• Incorporating social distancing standards in all of our processes and facilities
• COVID-19 testing for all patients, even if they are not experiencing symptoms, within 72 hours of any procedure which requires anesthesia or sedation.
• Limiting hospital entrances.
• Continuing with visitor restrictions (exceptions will allow a support person for maternity and surgery)
As hospitals begin their return to full operation, the release said, OhioHealth also reminds patients not to delay necessary care. Emergency department volume at OhioHealth facilities have dropped more than 40 percent since the pandemic began, and that decrease has doctors and nurses concerned.
“It has been our experience that some patients are delaying necessary hospital care because they’re afraid to come to the hospital,” Dr. Vanderhoff said in the release. “When they do finally walk through our door, they may be sicker than they should be, given their condition, and require a greater degree of care to get well. Patients should not delay care out of fear because our hospitals are, in fact, a very safe place to be.”
OhioHealth will announce plans to resume additional services and procedures in the coming days and weeks, according to the release.