Resuming Elective Procedures
- Is Saint Mary’s clean and safe?
Our hospital strives to provide you with the cleanest, safest environment possible – just as we always have! One of the core elements of properly managing infectious diseases is the cleanliness of our physical facility.
- Does Saint Mary’s have the supplies and capacity to accommodate my procedure?
Our clinical teams conduct twice-daily “go/no-go” meetings in which they will review crucial supplies such as PPE, medications, blood, space and staffing to ensure enough supplies are available to comfortably care for those undergoing elective/non-urgent procedures AND to accommodate our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.
Saint Mary’s is not booking our schedules to full capacity. Out of an abundance of caution and with the conservation of supplies in mind, we will not start with a full schedule right away. Should things continue to progress positively, we will increase our capacity on a week-by-week basis. This is for your safety and ours.
- Does Saint Mary’s have enough staff to resume elective/non-urgent procedures?
Our team regularly monitors staffing levels to ensure a safe environment for all patients, providers and employees. In addition, we screen all employees daily for COVID-19 symptoms. We are confident we have the appropriate staff and providers to resume elective and non-urgent procedures while also accommodating our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.
- Will my experience be the same as in the past?
Your experience at Saint Mary’s may look a little differently than in the past, but this is because we have new processes and procedures in place to further protect your health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- What should I expect during my procedure?
Upon arrival at the facility, you will be asked standard screening questions and be provided with a cloth mask, if you do not have one. If you have your own mask or bandana that covers your mouth and nose, you may wear it.
Saint Mary’s will continue to operate under a zero-visitor protocol, out of an abundance of caution. Because of this, anyone accompanying you or serving as a designated contact person, such as a family member, loved one or caregiver, will not be permitted to enter the hospital with you when you arrive. We will gather the person’s contact information for follow up and updates about your care. We will also provide instructions for pick up at the same location.
While you are here for a procedure, you may not see another patient, and for now, that is intentional. We are currently minimizing overlap in scheduling to better promote social distancing, conserve resources, and protect patients and employees.
During the admitting process and throughout your procedure, you will be asked COVID-19 screening questions multiple times by multiple people. Although this may seem tiresome, be assured the questions are asked for the sake of your health and safety as well as ours.
Also note that our care team may be wearing protective equipment, so you may not see your care team members’ faces while you are here. We do regret this, as the personal connections we have with our patients and community are what keep us going. However, this important precaution will protect you and our clinical staff.
- What questions are asked during the screening?
The questions we ask are part of our standard COVID-19 screening process. We will ask about symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Whenever asked, please answer these questions honestly. If your procedure has to be postponed, it will be just that — postponed. This does NOT mean it will be canceled. We will work with you to reschedule as soon as possible.
- How should I prepare for my procedure?
If you are scheduled for a surgical procedure:
- You will be asked to practice “safer-at-home” behaviors for seven (7) days prior to your procedure to minimize potential exposure. This is a step beyond social distancing. We ask that during this period, you leave your home only for critical needs such shopping for groceries or going to the pharmacy, and if you must go out for an essential purpose, you wear a mask.
- You will be asked to check your temperature twice a day during this seven-day period, and report any result above 100°F to your provider.
- You will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure as an additional precaution.
If you are scheduled for an imaging procedure only:
- Follow guidelines 1 and 2 as above.
- You will be screened and masked upon arrival, but you will not be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure.
- If I am having a surgical procedure, how will I be tested for COVID-19?
COVID-19 testing is conducted prior to the time of your surgical procedure. Your provider will place the order for the test, and the hospital will reach out with instructions for scheduling. If your test is positive, your procedure will be postponed, and instructions related to your care will be provided.
- Can a family member or friend come with me to the facility?
If a family member, loved one or caregiver comes with you, that person will not be permitted to enter the hospital. Out of an abundance of caution, Saint Mary’s is still operating under our zero-visitor protocol. When you arrive, you may park and enter through the outtpatient or main entrance, or you may be dropped off at either entrance while your designated contact person (family member, loved one or caregiver) remains in the car. We will gather the person’s contact information for follow up and updates about your care. We will also provide instructions for pick up at the same location.
- What happens when I arrive for my procedure?
After arriving at the facility, you will again be asked standard screening questions and provided with a cloth mask, if you do not have one. If you have your own mask or bandana that covers your mouth and nose, you may wear it.
- Will I be treated near COVID-19 patients?
Saint Mary’s is not performing elective/non-urgent procedures on COVID-19 positive patients at this time. All patients who test positive for an infectious disease, including COVID-19, are isolated for treatment in accordance with Arkansas Department of Health and CDC guidelines. Our hospital has a dedicated isolation unit/wing for treatment of patients under investigation (PUIs) and patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- If I have more questions, whom should I contact?
If you have any questions, call our team at 479-968-2841. You will be connected to the appropriate department for your procedure.