Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Special Edition: COVID-19 - January 2021 - 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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T o say the pandemic has been a struggle for outpa- tient surgery professionals is a massive understate- ment. Now that facilities are back up to speed after last year's elective surgery shutdown, I asked col- leagues about what they've learned while working during the pandemic. Here's what they told me. 1. Update your risk assessment Trying to figure out how to perform sur- gery during the coronavirus's first wave was new to all of us. We needed a pan- demic policy, but didn't know where to start. Now we know to begin with a risk assessment — a common process the Infection Preventionist uses to identify and review potential risk factors of treatments and services provided, and the environment of care. The risks of greatest importance and urgency are identified and prioritized. Consider using your infection preven- tion department's risk assessment template, adding "pandemic" as one of the risks. Then convene your clinical leaders and governing body to develop a documented action plan. Next, create an action plan based on the regulations you're following. From there, create your own pandemic policy. 2. Write screening policies One of my responsibilities is to keep my leadership team up to date on what's going on with COVID-19 screenings. It's a lot. The best thing you can do is assign a small team of clinical staff and supervisors to coordinate screening processes, write COVID-19 pandemic policies and communicate with the rest of the team. For staff screenings, conduct tempera- ture checks according to your policy and document that they've been done. Staff must constantly moni- tor changes in regulations and revise the policies. Remember, COVID-19 screening and testing policies are based on your state's regulations. Speaking of compliance, outpatient facilities must follow regula- tions and guidelines from CMS, CDC, NIH, WHO, APIC, AORN, medical professional organizations — the list goes on and on. The information from all these sources is often contradictory. My advice: Initially, rely on a primary source, such as the CDC or CMS, as opposed to trying to incorporate informa- tion from multiple sources. 3. Take care of your people Listen to your staff and their opinions and sugges- tions — and stay positive. If you act like Debbie Downer because you're stressed, what do you think happens to your staff? They'll copy your behavior. As a leader, you set the tone. In fact, a positive cul- ture may lessen the stress of the pandemic. If you're positive and go with the flow, staff won't be as resist- ant to the changes COVID-19 has brought. 4. Overcommunicate During a crisis, you must keep staff in the loop. J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1 • O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y . N E T • 5 Ann Geier, MS, RN, CNOR(E), CASC | Alpharetta, Ga. Lessons Learned From COVID-19 The pandemic has taught us plenty about running a facility during incredible circumstances. SAME PAGE During a crisis, facility leaders must keep staff in the loop, offer focused communications and share why changes are made.

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