As your ASC resumes surgeries, patients and staff members alike will likely have many questions about infection prevention and new safety measures. And to increase your culture of safety, reassuring and communicating with your employees and patients is crucial.
ASCA has published multiple resources to help ASCs reopen safely. Consider this checklist for increasing your culture of safety post-COVID-19.
- Look through the list of canceled surgeries and reprioritized patients for rescheduling. Based on this list, do you have adequate staffing?
- Do you have appropriate anesthesia coverage?
- Check in with patients to confirm they are safe to travel to/from appointments.
- Communicate with all patients regarding the extensive cleaning, training, and safety measures you have taken to reopen.
- Reestablish any paused or canceled contracts such as linen service, biohazard, waste management, etc.
- Remind all staff of the processes in place to help everyone remain COVID-19 free, such as using masks outside of work, etc.
- Confirm that no mandatory training or competencies have lapsed during the current closure.
- Update all staff fire and disaster-based scenarios, including your emergency preparedness plan.
- Update preadmission paperwork to screen for COVID-19 exposure.
- Update post-discharge follow-up calls to include questions about changes in health status related to COVID-19.
- Establish procedures to pre-screen, possibly via telehealth, for fever, respiratory infections, or possible COVID-19 exposure.
- Post signs in all relevant areas with all the new instructions regarding social distancing, etc., in all appropriate languages.
- Consider staggering arrival times to help enforce social distancing.
- Do you have an adequate supply of hand sanitizer, tissues, and no-touch trash receptacles in all patient areas?
- Confirm your cleaning walkthrough schedule of the waiting area.
- Complete a full inventory evaluation of supplies, implants, medications, and equipment.
- Check all sterile packages and instrument trays for integrity and expiration dates.
- Communicate the appropriate updates about all new protocols and processes with staff and patients.
Safety starts with the leaders
As we navigate a new post-COVID-19 world, many people have increasing concerns about safety—and that includes your employees and your patients. Research has shown that when leaders are directly involved in improving safety measures, the culture of safety increases. Not only is there a strong element of leading by example, but when employees know that leaders are engaged, they feel safe reporting any errors or mistakes. Your culture of safety may look different post-COVID-19, but there are some specific steps you can take to make everyone feel more at ease.
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