7 Ways to Make Hospitals, Doctors’ Offices Safe From COVID-19 as State Reopens

BJI
Print icon

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Hartford HealthCare has never closed. But to help contain the spread of the virus, it suspended nonessential services, procedures and testing.

Gradually, those services are phasing in at Hartford HealthCare hospitals, surgery centers, primary care offices, health centers and other facilities (above, the Bone & Joint Institute at Hartford Hospital) with a host of extra precautions to ensure the ongoing safety of patients and staff.

“We have looked at this from all angles and we will begin to scale up gradually,” said Dr. Ajay Kumar, HHC’s chief clinical officer. “We will ramp up in a way that is thoughtful and methodical.”

As the system begins scheduling nonessential services again, these precautions are in place:

  • Screenings for Hartford HealthCare employees and patients. Throughout the pandemic, HHC has screened all colleagues at the start of their shifts and that practice will continue. In addition, patients coming in for surgical procedures will answer COVID-19 screening questions before their procedure to assess if they’ve been exposed to the virus. If the assessment identifies any recent COVID-19 exposure, the procedure may be postponed.
  • Increased cleaning. All high-touch surface areas – counters, bedside tables, call bell, bed rails – will be cleaned more often with disinfectants approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Rooms are cleaned and disinfected between patients, and all equipment, including wheelchairs and blood pressure cuffs, are cleaned after each use.
  • Pre-surgical patient testing. Patients must undergo pre-surgical testing four to five days before their procedure, and are then asked to self-quarantine until the date of their procedure.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE). Anyone entering a HHC facility must wear a mask according to a policy instituted early in the pandemic. The system will give masks to anyone who doesn’t have one. Employees will continue to don PPE appropriate to the care they are providing.
  • Hand hygiene stations. Hand hygiene is an important way to protect yourself against COVID-19 and other bacteria. We’ve created sanitizing stations with alcohol-based, germ-killing products.
  • Surgical visitor policy. Hospital visitors are still not allowed, but patients can bring one escort with them. Both will be screened and have their temperatures checked when they enter an HHC facility. If both screen negative, they can enter wearing masks. The escort will wait in a waiting area that was modified to ensure safety.
  • Patient communications. Physician offices have updated packages of information to give patients coming in for procedures or appointments. These include details about testing, pre-operative FAQs, safety details and more.

“Safety is at the core of every decision and every action we undertake,” Dr. Kumar said. “Our collective commitment to do the safe thing, the best thing, the caring thing and the right thing – our system values – has carried us far. It will also carry us through and beyond this next phase of COVID-19 preparation if we remain vigilant.”

He added that as the world moves forward, healthcare systems like HHC must focus on:

  • Infection prevention.
  • Quality and safety.
  • Identifying and sharing lessons.
  • Accommodating patients who have delayed their care.

Any updates affecting patients and visitors will be posted to HartfordHealthCare.org.

Need to see your doctor? New Patient? For more information about Hartford HealthCare virtual health visits, click here.

Click here to schedule a virtual visit with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent care doctor. Find out more about COVID-19 antibody tests here.

Sign up for our “Coping with COVID” podcast series here.

Stay with Hartford HealthCare for everything you need to know about the coronavirus threat. Click here for information updated daily.

Questions? Call our 24-hour hotline (860.972.8100 or, toll-free, 833.621.0600). 

Get text alerts by texting 31996 with COVID19 in the message field.


What's New

Masks Work!

COVID-19 Immunity After Infection? Like the Virus, Uncertainties Remain

With the focus on tragic results of many coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, it’s easy to overlook that the majority of people do recover from the disease. What’s unclear, however, is if those people who recover are then immune to reinfection. “The literature is not clear on immunity, or how long immunity...

Medical Marijuana

Why Chronic Pain Added to State’s Medical Marijuana Qualifying List

In an attempt to help people who struggle daily with chronic pain, a state regulatory committee recently added it as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. “A lot of people live with pain,” said Dr. Andrew Salner, director of the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at Hartford Hospital and a member of...

Marleine St. Juste

Center for Healthy Aging Services Now Available at St. Vincent’s

The resource coordinator at Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging’s new location at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport is assisting employees and their loved ones by telephone and email in connecting with supportive services to achieve the optimum quality of life. During the pandemic, Marleine St. Juste’s assessments determine...

Restaurant Regulations

How to Report a Business Violating State’s COVID-19 Safety Requirements

A restaurant, hotel, hair salon or any other business violating Connecticut’s safety rules as the state reopens during COVID-19 threatens the health of your community. If you see a violation, fill out a Reopen CT Online Complaint Form (click here). The electronic form is considered public information, but you can...

Nick Kalogeros

The Wait Ends, Dramatically, for Glastonbury Kidney Transplant Recipient

For more than two decades, Nicholas Kalogeros of Glastonbury has known kidney failure and end-stage renal disease were inevitable without a transplant. A rare genetic disease, Alport syndrome, that damages small blood vessels in the kidney and eventually causes organ failure left Kalogeros on peritoneal dialysis the past year as...

Charcoal Grill

Don’t Get Burned This Summer: It’s This Simple

Summer is synonymous with barbecues, fireworks and fun in the sun. With it comes an uptick in burn cases to hospital Emergency Departments (ED) everywhere. Most are preventable. With the proper care and attention, a trip to the ED is avoidable. “Our skin’s function is to protect the body from...