As the number of COVID-19 cases starts to decline, a number of facilities are preparing to resume elective surgical care. The recently issued guidelines outlined below were created by the American College of Surgeons (ACOS) to help facilities safely plan for resumption of elective surgery.
There are 10 distinct issues to be addressed before elective surgery may be reinstituted. Evaluating and addressing each of these 10 issues will help facilities to optimally provide safe and high-quality surgical patient care:
- Know your community’s COVID-19 numbers. Prevalence, incidence and isolation mandates will help dictate timing of ramp up;
- Know your COVID-19 diagnostic testing availability and develop operational testing policies for patients and health care workers;
- Know your local PPE availability and develop policies for your health care workers and the continued adherence to protocols established to protect workers from virus exposure;
- Know your health care facility capacity (e.g., beds, intensive care units, & ventilators) including expansion plans;
- Ensure resources and supplies;
- Address workforce staffing issues;
- Assign a governance committee to clarify, interpret and iterate policies, make real-time decisions, and initiate and communicate messaging;
- Create clear patient messaging and communication;
- Develop a surgery prioritization protocol/plan; and
- Ensure safe, high-quality, high-value care of the surgical patient across the Five Phases of Care continuum.
To read the article released by the American College of Surgeons on April 17, 2020 in its entirety, click here.