empty hospital bed elective surgeries

The Return of Elective Surgeries to California after COVID-19

California to Resume Scheduled Elective Surgeries Amid Outbreak

California Gov. Gavin Newsom relaxed his stay-at-home order last week to let hospitals resume elective surgeries in the state. A move that will increase the need for post acute care communities. 

With hospitals now in a position to resume scheduling elective surgeries, many wonder how this will impact skilled nursing facilities in post acute care communities. Sophisticated strategies are needed to restart elective surgery in this post-pandemic world. A few things we must consider are a ramp up of testing, setting protective equipment protocol for staff and patients, and prioritizing patient communication through these times.

Compiling the Data

Gov. Newsom said he could not provide a timeline for when major sectors of California’s economy would reopen, the gradual process will take time. “There is no light switch, and there is no date,” Newsom said.

As there is still no clear answer, he did pledge that the state would ramp up its efforts to meet the most important of six goals: increasing its capacity to test for COVID-19 and tracing the contact of people who test positive.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, as of May 7th, California reported more than 60,616 coronavirus cases and 2,464 deaths with infections, however those numbers are thought to be higher due to the lack of tests. 

Gov. Newsom said that California hospitals have been well below capacity than previously thought, sparking the idea to start scheduling procedures. The surgeries are not purely cosmetic however, scheduling heart valve replacements, tumor removals, and preventative services such as colonoscopies are also needed.

Plans for Testing

In comparison to other states, California has been lagging behind instituting the rate of testing they should. So far, labs in California have conducted more than 809,000 tests for COVID-19 as of Tuesday May 5th, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Although the state hopes to test 60,000 residents per day for COVID-19, that effort may be supplemented by a shipment of 100,000 nasal swabs that President Trump said will be sent to California according to Newsom. Additionally, 250,000 more swabs should be arriving in the following weeks.

For a better understanding of the virus and how it spreads, the state also ordered 1.5 million coronavirus serology tests for Abbott Laboratories to be used at the 130 facilities across California. These tests are designed to detect the antibodies present in people who have already contracted the virus.

Personal Protective Equipment Protocol

The gradual process of reopening brings concern of health for patients, doctors, and staff at places that will care for those in a post acute situation. However, optimal care in any phase of surgery at the hospital also remains when in post acute care. The use of personal protective equipment is necessary to accommodate all patients in post acute care after surgery.

Optimal care in the post discharge phase includes a post acute care facility to have availability and be safe using the proper protective equipment. Implementation of proper health and safety techniques are essential for a patient’s hospital discharge to be successful. Hospitals and post acute care facilities must institute a transparent framework that includes prioritizing patient centered care first.

After surgery and during transportation to a post acute care facility, protective gear is necessary to keep patients and caregivers out of harm’s way. It remains up to the skilled nursing facility to conduct inventory of existing supplies and check expiration dates.

Patient Communication in Post Acute Care

An important first principle for post acute care preparedness during this COVID-19 outbreak is communication with the patient about the transition from hospital after elective surgery to a post acute care facility and that each patient should be tested prior to discharge. If no patient is discharged with a positive test then it will calm the fears of each facility accepting the new patient.

The post acute care sector faces issues identifying high-quality staff to work in these settings. At South Coast Post Acute our excellent facility and staff members are up for the job. We have already implemented protocol to ensure a safe and healthy space in post acute care.

Safety For South Coast Post Acute Patients

South Coast Post Acute currently has no patients or staff infected with the Coronavirus. To keep it this way, we have instituted a no visiting policy until further notice.

Prevention and care can go a long way in keeping patients protected. At South Coast Post Acute, we have a strong commitment to our work and a dedicated spirit of caring within our post-acute care community. Because of this, we’re the recovery center of choice for patients, providers, and caregivers. In a time where health concerns are at an all-time high, our knowledge of medicine and tools can make a difference. 

Exceptional, compassionate care; every time, every touch. Contact us today!

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