As the world moves deeper into the COVID-19 pandemic, Polaris Spine and Neurosurgery Center recognizes that the need for safe medical care not related to COVID-19 has become more important than ever. We are hearing of more and more instances where fear of exposure to the virus has resulted in delaying necessary care and routine office visits. To make sure our patients feel comfortable coming into our office, we want to take the opportunity to communicate all of the important precautions and protocols we have implemented to ensure a safe visit every time you walk in our doors.
With guidance from the Center for Disease Control and local public health departments, our Outpatient Surgery Center (OSC), in particular, has taken great care to create its own set of guidelines to promote a safe option for surgical intervention, all while maintaining the excellent standard of personalized care Polaris is known for. To keep our patients safe before, during and after surgery, we have adopted the following policies:
WE ARE SCREENING.
- We screen all staff members and physicians daily. They do not come to work if there is any sign of symptoms related to COVID-19.
- We ask patients that are at risk for severe disease for COVID-19, older adults and people of any age with underlying chronic medical conditions or immunocompromised state, not to visit the OSC but be rescheduled unless the delay would compromise the patients overall permanent health.
- Before and/or immediately upon arrival for appointments, we ask and screen for the following:
- Symptoms of a respiratory infection;
- Muscle pain;
- Sore throat;
- New loss of taste or smell;
- International travel within the last 14 days to CDD Level 3 risk countries;
- Travel within the US to cities with large outbreaks of COVID-19;
- Contact with someone with known or suspected COVID-19; and/or
- Residing in a community where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring.
- We ask patients to sign verifying their answers to the above screening questions.
WE ARE LIMITING VISITORS.
- Visitors (companions) are limited to one per patient and only those that are necessary to assist the patient.
- We are providing discharge instructions over the phone.
- We will meet the companion in the parking lot to discuss any concerns or instructions related to the continued care of the patient.
WE HAVE ADOPTED ENHANCED ANESTHESIA AND OPERATING ROOM PRECAUTIONS.
- We give patients a mask at screening and it will remain on until the patient is in the operating room.
- We have removed room equipment and open supplies/containers from operating room if not needed for the procedure.
- We provide patient with a mask at screening and it will remain on until the patient is in the operating room.
- We ask that patients gargle with peroxide based mouthwash immediately prior to going to the operating room.
- During intubation, extubation and surgery, our physicians and nurses wear the following PPE:
- N95 mask;
- Surgical mask placed over the N-95;
- Impervious isolation gown;
- Goggles; and
- Face shield.
- To control patient flow throughout the OSC, we see patients for pre-op and post-op consultations in the same room as the surgery.
- Patients are discharged same day to avoid prolonged exposure to physicians and staff members.
WE REMAIN FOCUSED ON KEEPING OUR FACILITY CLEAN.
- We clean and disinfect all equipment, surfaces and areas first thing in the morning and regularly throughout the day, using products that are effective against a range of organisms and viruses, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
- When we clean, we are wearing appropriate PPE to prevent exposure to COVID-19 and other chemicals.
- Our doctors, nurses and all medical staff members sanitize or wash their hands before and after interacting with patients.
- Symmetry foaming hand sanitizer containing 62% alcohol is always available.
Our anesthesiologist, Dr. Gennifer Wiley, reports finding that “patients are more likely to choose an outpatient facility due to the fact that there is less risk of exposure involved. With our recent protocols in place and our extensive screening process, we have greatly reduced the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.”
Finally, we know that this time is challenging for everyone and we hope that we can help you feel safe in a way that is not itself scary. As more information and data emerges, we will continue to monitor guidelines and adjust our protocols and procedures as necessary. Polaris is here for you and we look forward to continuing the great relationship we have with our patients. If you have questions about what we are doing to keep you safe from COVID-19, contact Polaris Spine and Neurosurgery Center today at 404-256-2633.