Re-Opening Healthcare Facilities:
What You Should Know About Seeking Healthcare
During the height of the pandemic, many healthcare systems and patients postponed non-emergency, in-person care in order to keep patients and providers safe and to ensure care for COVID-19 patients. As we see a decline in cases of COVID-19, the below recommendations are to help ensure that non-emergency healthcare resumes safely.
- Do Not Postpone Necessary Care. Some patients have been delaying care for chest pains, stroke symptoms, or other signs and symptoms of potentially serious health conditions. Do NOT postpone care that is urgent or may lead to complications such as heart attack or stroke. Also, do NOT postpone necessary preventive care such as immunizations or cancer screening.
- Is It Safe to Go to your Doctor or Hospital? Talk with your healthcare provider about your provider’s facilities and the precautions they are putting in place to keep patients safe. Healthcare providers are making preparations to care for you safely. By now, healthcare facilities should have established special procedures for cleaning and disinfecting.
- Consider Telehealth or Virtual Visits. Patients may receive certain care by “telehealth” – audio or audio/visual care via your phone or computer. This reduces the risk of transmission of Covid19. Ask your provider if telehealth visits are an option.
- What to Expect when you Seek Healthcare. To prevent you from getting Covid-19, or giving it to others, you may be asked to do the following by your provider:
- Wear a face covering. A facemask helps limit your risk of getting or spreading disease.
- Avoid crowded waiting areas. Sometimes you will be asked to wait in your car until your visit. Waiting rooms should have chairs spaced far apart to keep you and others safe.
- Limit visitors or people who go to your appointment with you. By limiting the number of people, your exposure becomes limited as well.
- Screening before entering a facility. You, and your visitors, may have your temperature taken, or be asked questions about your health status, before entering a healthcare facility. This is to keep you and others safe.
- Wash your hands often. Use soap and water for 20 seconds, or hand sanitizer when washing your hands is not possible.
- Should I get tested for Covid-19 before seeking healthcare? Discuss with your provider if you should be tested before going for care. Some people have shown no symptoms for the disease but have been found to be positive. If testing is not available, in some cases, such as before surgery, you may be asked to self-isolate prior to your surgery to reduce the risk that you have Covid-19. If you ARE positive for Covid-19, discuss your options with your provider about the benefits of proceeding or postponing care.