Non-essential surgical procedures may soon be in the picture, as Ascension Seton anticipates how to proceed with vital healthcare services, effective April 27.
All changes will be in alignment with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order dated April 17.
Ascension Seton hospitals at most locations will begin scheduled surgeries and procedures, prioritizing those that are more urgent. The hospitals will continue with many safety measures already in place, including visitor restrictions and temperature checks for any individual entering each hospital, and will also require a negative COVID-19 test for any patient scheduled for surgery.
“We understand that individuals in our local communities have emergency and essential healthcare needs outside of COVID-19, many of which cannot be delayed or deferred without serious health risks,” said Andy Davis, president and CEO of Ascension Texas.
“Our return to surgery approach is clinically-led, working with our physicians and our partners at Dell Medical School to implement a strategy that will keep our patients, associates and physicians safe, and is fully in compliance with Governor Abbott’s executive order.”
As the only dedicated freestanding pediatric facility in the region, Dell Children’s Medical Center has been crucial to ensuring the health and safety of pediatric patients during the pandemic.
“A number of visits remain critical to a child’s care during the pandemic, particularly for children with chronic health conditions,” said Christopher M. Born, president of Dell Children’s. “We want to encourage you to bring your child in for essential appointments, as recommended by your pediatrician. At Dell Children’s, we are working diligently to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our patients, families, and staff, while providing uninterrupted care for all essential visits, including therapy appointments and emergency healthcare needs.”
RETURNING TO SURGERY
Since March 22, in response to the pandemic, Ascension Seton has provided surgical and procedural care only when it was medically emergent. The hospitals will now begin scheduling additional surgeries, prioritizing urgent procedures which have no non-procedural alternatives that meet community medical standards and are not emergent, but cannot be further delayed due to adverse healthcare risks. All patients with a scheduled surgery must test for COVID-19 at least 48 hours prior to their planned surgery date and receive a negative test result. Following the test, patients will be asked to self quarantine until their surgery date.
Ascension Seton will also continue a number of safety measures already in place, including advanced telehealth capabilities for virtual care, universal masking, hospital visitor restrictions, social distancing, and screening of all persons upon entry, including temperature check for 99.5 degrees. Associates or patients who are symptomatic will be referred for testing. Ascension Seton will also conduct terminal cleaning at each hospital prior to resuming surgeries, and each hospital will have a dedicated, separate entrance for all surgical patients.
“Our recovery phase focuses on providing continued COVID-19 care and surge readiness while supporting our efforts to safely return to serving the community’s broader medically necessary healthcare needs,” said Dr. Samson Jesudass, Chief Clinical Officer of Ascension Texas. “We know this is a fluid situation, and we are prepared to be flexible and responsive to rapidly evolving conditions in our community and our sites of care.”