Welcome Back: We've Got You Covered
Posted May 22, 2020 by UVM Health Network
Thank you. As members of the community, you've done a remarkable job evolving with the many swift changes across our homes, businesses, schools and health care facilities. This collective action – your sacrifice – has allowed our communities to flatten the curve and avoid a devastating surge to our health care system. For that, we thank you. But as we look back at what we've accomplished these past few months, it's time to look forward and say “welcome.”
We've all put certain elements of our lives on hold, but your health can't be one of them. Your health is important and any concerns you may have about the coronavirus should not outweigh your need for care. Please, for your safety, get the care you need. While our hospitals in Vermont and Northern New York have been caring for COVID-19 patients, we've also safely provided care to many other patients – families bringing babies into the world, patients needing care for heart attacks or strokes, and victims of car accidents. As patient Megan Gras noted after delivering her first child at UVM Medical Center, it's entirely possible to provide safe, patient-centered care at this time.
“The hospital has been great at finding the line between being safe and ensuring our health and protection while also being emotionally supportive and comforting.”
Whether you need a test, surgery, procedure or routine care, we are here for you. If you need emergency care, our urgent care and emergency departments are open and ready – no appointment needed.
Across our network, we have begun scheduling non-urgent and elective outpatient procedures and appointments that do not require a hospital stay. We're starting with those that were postponed in preparation for a COVID-19 surge. Our commitment to safety and patient care has not changed, but the health care environment has. We'd like to introduce some of these changes ahead of your next visit.
What Has Changed?
We are taking extra precautions and following updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, American Hospital Association and other leading health care organizations. To provide safe, high-quality care at this time, we have added the following measures:
Social Distancing: Only a few appointments at a time are scheduled to limit the number of patients and staff in our buildings.
New Check In: To reduce the amount of time spent in common areas, like waiting rooms, you may be asked to wait in your car and may be brought directly to your exam room instead of checking in at the front desk. Your provider's office will provide specific instructions when your appointment is scheduled.
“My doctor called ahead so they knew I was coming. The admission process was streamlined. Everyone was masked. They immediately took me to a room and started hydrating me, performed a physical exam and took a blood draw”
Visitor Restrictions: You may be accustomed to bringing a friend or loved one to your appointments. Thank you for understanding that our temporary no-visitor policy is in place to protect everyone's safety. Unless you require assistance, you will need to attend your appointment by yourself with a few exceptions. Please reach out to your provider for more information.
Screening: Patients and staff will be screened at building entrances for symptoms and possible exposure, including temperature checks. For patients with respiratory complaints or a fever, we are taking every precaution to minimize exposure to others and get them the care they need.
Masks: All of our patients and staff will be wearing masks. If you have a mask, please wear it to help us conserve personal protective equipment (PPE). If you do not have a mask, we will provide you with one.
Testing: Before certain outpatient surgeries or procedures, you may be tested for COVID-19 and asked to quarantine between the time of the test and the time of your appointment. In addition, if you are admitted through the emergency department you may also be tested for COVID-19.
Cleaning and Sanitizing: As usual, exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned between patients. We are also cleaning our common areas, like check-in desks, waiting rooms, door knobs and faucets, frequently throughout the day. Hand sanitizer is also available and you may be asked to clean your hands during your appointment.
Your Health Is Important
A small health issue now can become a larger issue later. We don't want you to ignore your symptoms out of fear for COVID-19. Check in with us, we are here to help.
“It felt good to me, especially during this time. (My issue) wasn't a really big, serious thing – but it could have been.”
If you have questions about your care, an upcoming appointment or a rescheduled procedure, please call your provider or connect with them via MyChart. We're here to help.