Question 10

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Q. Since COVID-19, the hospital experience is different for patients and visitors. Patient and employee safety has changed many things, some that we see and some behind the scenes. This is what our hospitals are doing for safety reasons and why.

A. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that hospitals give priority to urgent visits and delay elective care to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in hospitals. One consequence of the pandemic was under-utilization of important medical services and procedures.

As the pandemic continues, the CDC has urged hospitals to provide necessary services while minimizing risk to patients and medical personnel, while also considering the level of COVID-19 in their communities. Hospitals are urged to stay in contact with state and local health officials regarding COVID-19 rates and surges.

Among the safety protocols suggested by the CDC regarding treatment during the pandemic:

  • Ensure adequate staffing and bed capacity, availability of PPE and other supplies.
  • Be prepared to rapidly detect and respond to a spike of COVID-19 cases.
  • Monitor trends in case counts and deaths, especially for high-risk populations.
  • Optimize telehealth services when available and appropriate.
  • Follow CDC-recommended infection control practices.
  • Prioritize services that, if deferred, are most likely to result in patient harm, such as symptoms of stroke or heart attack; dental emergencies; acute abdominal pain; certain cancer treatments; and well-child visits for newborns.
  • Prioritize at-risk populations who would benefit most from medical services, such as those with underlying health conditions, those most at risk for complications from delayed care, or those without access to telehealth.

Each individual hospital has its own protocols, rules and guidelines. The Connecticut Hospital Association has a complete list of the state’s hospitals with links that can be found here. Click on the link to your hospital to find the latest on safety protocols regarding treatment during the pandemic.

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