As I reflect on the last few months, I am inspired by how our staff at Desert Care Network hospitals have come together to care for our community during COVID-19. I also recognize that there are many members of our community who have postponed medical attention, or need treatment of new symptoms. It is our mission to provide access to high quality and compassionate care at all times – this includes while managing COVID-19.
After careful consideration and preparation, we have resumed elective care and procedures at our hospitals. This will allow our physicians to proceed with care based on their clinical judgement and relationship with their patients.
As we meet elective care needs, we remain committed to the protection and safety of our patients, physicians and staff. We have combined strong infection prevention processes with training, testing and supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). We have also established separate care pathways which clearly partition COVID-19 patient care to mitigate risk of transmission.
Our standards should offer peace of mind to patients and their loved ones receiving elective surgery or emergency care. These standards were developed with key principles in mind to maximize safety: maintain vigilance of potential risks, create separate care pathways and take a multi-factor approach to maintaining a safe environment for patients and staff.
These standards are built upon deep clinical expertise and ongoing management of COVID-19, as well as continuous incorporation of CDC and state recommendations. Standards include the following components:
- Distinct COVID SAFE Zones and COVID CARE Zones – separate areas with clear signage and protocols
- Rigorous physician and staff protocols – daily screening, universal masking and access to PPE
- Heightened sanitization – enhanced cleaning of surfaces and plenty of hand sanitization stations
- Access to COVID-19 testing – in-house testing for patients, physicians and staff who require it
- Precautions for patients – provision of facemasks, hand sanitizer and physical distancing
- Enhanced virtual access – virtual care, remote monitoring as well as connectivity with loved ones
Our standards will help patients confidently seek care at our hospitals. We are providing the reassurance that our patients, staff and their families deserve. I am proud of the work our team has done to implement and optimize these standards to provide care for our patients in the safest environment possible.
In closing, I want to thank the residents of our desert communities. Over the last few months you have shown our health care workers your appreciation and respect by sending food, masks, scrubs and other helpful items to our hospitals. This community even showed gratitude with a drive-by parade of police, fire and ambulance vehicles by our doors, and by flying airplanes over our hospitals to express thanks and appreciation. But now it’s time for us to continue taking care of you, so please don’t ignore your health care needs, and know that we will look after you in a caring and safe environment.
Michele Finney is CEO of Desert Care Network consisting of Desert Regional Medical Center, JFK Memorial Hospital and Hi-Desert Medical Center. For more information, visit www.DesertCareNetwork.com or call (833) 310.2440.