FAQs about hospital safety

March 1, 2021 Cathy Semar

Frequently Asked Questions About Hospital Safety

Why are Providence hospitals increasing the number of essential surgeries while we are still in a pandemic? 
Many surgical procedures were either cancelled or delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we are seeing an increase in patients who have an immediate need for a surgical procedure and face deteriorating health if the procedure is further delayed.  At the same time, we currently have adequate capacity within our hospitals and feel confident that we can safely care for additional patients who need an essential procedure.    

What precautions are Providence hospitals taking to ensure patients having a procedure are not exposed to the COVID-19 virus?
The safety of our patients and caregivers is our No. 1 priority. That’s why we have implemented a strict, multi-layer process to ensure the safety of patients receiving care within our hospitals:

  • All caregivers are encouraged to self-screen before coming to work. If they are symptomatic, they must call their supervisor and stay home.
  • Everyone entering the hospital (caregivers, doctors, visitors, everyone) is being screened for fever. Anyone with a fever will be sent home.
  • If anyone develops symptoms while at work, they will alert their supervisor, contact caregiver health and go home under self-quarantine.
  • Isolating COVID-19 positive patients to one area of the hospital. This keeps the rest of the hospital safe.
  • Implementing measures that ensure we meet social distancing directives.
  • Universal masking – all caregivers wear appropriate hospital-issued masks while in the patient care setting.

What if we have another surge of COVID-19 cases? Will Providence hospitals have capacity to support an increase in COVID-19 cases if they begin conducting surgical cases? 
Yes. We monitor our personal protective equipment (PPE) inventory levels and pharmaceutical agents daily. Should we see a significant shift in any of these areas, we will immediately adjust scheduled procedures.

Will all types of surgical procedures be performed? 
A surgical review committee will conduct daily reviews of all requested and scheduled procedures.  Cases will be scheduled based on tiered criteria established by the ministry’s clinical leaders. 

Can a patient bring a visitor to your hospitals?  
We understand the importance of patients having access to their loved ones while receiving care at Providence hospitals. We are pleased to announce that our patients can now have loved ones visit them. Restrictions apply and visitor policies may vary at our different Providence hospitals. Please check with the Providence hospital you are visiting prior to your arrival. 

To protect the health of our patients and caregivers, and as a safety precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

In situations where social distancing is not possible due to room size or the number of patients in the room (semi-private), only one visitor will be allowed at a time no matter what the local policy is.   

Will patients be tested for COVID-19 before a procedure is scheduled? 
Yes. All patients scheduled for an invasive procedure will be required to have a COVID-19 test as part of their pre-operative work-up. 

Will patients be screened for COVID-19 symptoms when entering the hospital?
Yes. Patients will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms when coming into the hospital, even if their COVID-19 test was negative as part of their pre-operative work-up. If a patient has any positive symptoms, they will be given a mask and escorted to a designated area. Patients screening positive upon entry will be rescheduled unless care is deemed emergent by their physician. 

If a patient is allowed a visitor based on exceptions noted, will the patient’s visitor (designated driver) be screened for COVID-19?
Yes. The visitor will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the hospital. If the visitor has symptoms, the visitor will not be allowed to enter. 

Will patients be given a surgical mask when entering the hospital? 
No. Patients scheduled for surgery will not be provided a surgical mask unless they have COVID-19 symptoms.   

If a patient is allowed a visitor based on exceptions noted, will visitor (designated driver) be given a surgical mask when entering the hospital? 
No. Visitors will not be given a surgical mask. As recommended by the county, visitors should be wearing a cloth mask (at minimum) when entering the hospital. 

For those exceptions to the visitor policy, where will visitors (designated drivers) wait while the patient is in surgery? 
Visitors will be escorted to a designated waiting area that complies with social distancing requirements. 


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