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Elective Surgery is Essential - August 2020 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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changes. Numerous respondents said their surgery centers had closed for six weeks or more. Some reported case volumes had returned to normal, or were approaching normal, as of mid- July. "Since we were able to restart cases, we have seen our numbers reach pre-COVID levels," says Ms. Reed. "The time required to clean ORs between cases has increased 20%, but we added additional staff to help with the turnovers." Lisa White, RN, LHRM, administrator at Tomoka Surgery Center in Ormand Beach, Fla., says patient volume at her facility is "mostly back to normal," although she's starting to see patient cancellations and staff call-outs due to COVID-19 exposure and the need to isolate as her state deals with a major rise in cases. "Patient feedback has been good about the precautions we're taking," says Ms. White. "They feel safe with the guidelines we're following." Several other respondents say many patients who were scheduled for cataract surgery have can- celed their procedures as COVID-19 cases continue to increase. Others report patients accept having to wear masks and abide by visitor restrictions, and appreciate all the protocols put in place to protect them. The survey shows staff members are worried about exposing family members to the virus, have concerns about dealing with a colleague or patient who tests positive and dread having to shut down their ORs again if local coronavirus cases continue to increase. An administrator at an Ohio surgery center says communicating with patients about the safety pre- cautions you've implemented can be powerful. Discussions of the risks associated with undergoing surgery during a pandemic should start with the pre-op phone call, suggests the administrator, who says patients are more comfortable with undergoing surgery if they're informed about the precautions you have in place. Many patients are still hesitant to show up for scheduled procedures. "We were temporarily shut down for six weeks when COVID-19 hit our city hard," says Ms. Nordby. "We're currently at about 75% of our typical case volume. We've seen more late cancellations and no-shows from patients who are nervous about having surgery when the day gets closer." Another respondent says their facility postponed 700 cataract procedures, adding, "We did not extend operating hours, so our numbers will be down in 2020." An administrator in New York City reports substantial financial loss, saying, "We're at 25% patient volume — having to complete screening tests within five days is a burden. All of our staff members returned, but they're anxious about the COVID situation. Although we provide them with PPE and ask if there are any safety issues, they're still worried." Respondents discussed safety measures they've implemented such as increased in-depth cleaning in waiting areas, mask-wearing require- ments, prescreening for all patients and more restrictive visitor policies for those accompany- ing patients to their centers. A few mentioned the need to assign or hire dedicated staffers to per- form temperature checks and screen patients for COVID-19. Other issues mentioned included not letting surgeons push to hurry up turnover times, as well as staffing issues due to child- care concerns. It's clear COVID-19 has impact- ed cataract surgery, but facilities are still interested in innovations that will continue to advance patient care long after the pan- demic eventually ends. OSM 4 0 • O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • A U G U S T 2 0 2 0 Administrators say accessing medications doesn't seem to be a huge concern, but almost three out of every five centers have difficulty finding adequate levels of PPE. Meds PPE Very easy 4% 4% Easy 9% 6% Neither easy nor difficult 70% 32% Difficult 17% 51% Very difficult 0% 6% Supply Availability Concerns

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