Northern Health is resuming surgeries which were postponed due to COVID-19, with some pre-admission changes.
Starting May 12, Northern Health began contacting patients to check on status, health and willingness to move forward with surgery, so procedures can be booked.
“Northern Health is resuming elective surgeries which were postponed to ensure capacity in our hospitals to support patients with COVID-19,” Northern Health said. “While the pandemic continues to evolve, we are actively working to safely resume elective surgeries while continuing to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19.”
Patients will be rescheduled based on priority determined by their surgeon.
“We recognize that some individuals may wish to continue to postpone their surgery at this time. Patients who require urgent, emergent and oncology-related surgeries will continue to be prioritized.”
Changes to the pre-admission processes include telephone screening of surgical patients, where available, to reduce the need for patients to go to the hospital for in-person visits before surgery. The screening will include telephone assessments and consultations.
“To minimize transmission of COVID-19 for patients, staff and medical staff, a number of measures will be implemented as part of the surgical process,” NH said.
Consistent screening tools and risk assessment guidelines will be used, with patients being assessed 24 to 72 hours prior to surgery and again on the day of surgery. Surgeries will be scheduled allowing accommodations for additional cleaning and infection control measures.
Northern Health said they will be back to full surgical capacity as soon as they can and where possible will expand surgical capacity over the coming months.
“This plan is dependent on several factors such as adequate supply of personal protective equipment, full commitment of all partners, and monitoring of any possible fall and winter resurgence of COVID-19,” Northern Health said.
“We are committed to helping keep patients, medical staff and support staff safe.”