At the frontlines of this pandemic are the dedicated healthcare workers who are providing care to COVID-19 patients, all the while aware of the danger that they face while delivering treatment and saving lives. There is no room for healthcare workers to be careless in the administration of their duties, especially the overwhelming burden that COVID-19 has placed on healthcare systems. Public health organizations have established protocols and guidelines for healthcare providers to observe, implement, and adhere to in order to prevent the spread of the virus in healthcare facilities. Healthcare providers must take precautions when evaluating patients for coronavirus.
Triage and COVID-19 Patients
Public health organizations have recently expressed caution and guidelines for healthcare providers on how to triage patients with coronavirus. Preventing the spread of the COVID-19 is paramount and healthcare providers must know how to triage patients with suspected COVID-19 infection and those directly exposed and are infected. Triage, in practice, entails an evaluation of a patient’s travel history, knowledge of any contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 14 days prior to the onset of illness, and assessment of acute respiratory infection or fever. Triage staff should wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and patients with a suspected case of infection should promptly apply a face mask. If symptoms are concerning, further workup may be required and patients should be isolated from others on arrival at the healthcare facility.
Some healthcare facilities may use tele-triage as a method for assessing and caring for patients, decreasing the volume of persons seeking medical care in facilities, and increasing social distancing during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Healthcare Provider Checklist
Even though the infection has not spread into local communities, it is important for providers to make a checklist to combat the virus. It’s crucial for healthcare providers to follow the guidelines relevant to transportation preparation and patient arrival when dealing with patients with a confirmed or possible case of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend these key steps:
- Stay abreast of the most up-to-date information regarding the signs and symptoms, diagnostic testing, and case definitions for COVID-19.
- Review infection control and prevention policies, along with CDC infection control
recommendations for COVID-19 relevant to the assessment and triage of patients suffering from acute respiratory symptoms; implementation of contact, standard and airborne safety measures; procedure for patient placement and managing and excluding visitors, measures to control the spread of the virus from infected patients; and the guidelines for performing aerosol-generating procedures.
- Be vigilant about patients who fit the persons under investigation (PUI) definition
- Gain know-how in reporting a potential COVID-19 case or exposure to the proper officials, such as facility infection control leads.
- In the event of unprotected exposure, know who, when and how to seek evaluation by occupational health services
Urgent Care Service
Providers are opening access to telemedicine visits, providing COVID-19 testing, and offering in-person care with personal protective equipment. You can limit exposure with a virtual assessment through face-to-face video, for example, and still, get the care and treatment you need with a local urgent care center. Viral testing is quick and easy and you can have peace of mind with an in-person visit knowing that personal protective equipment will limit exposure.
Healthcare providers have a crucial role to play, which involves not only providing care but also preventing the spread of COVID-19 when they come in contact with an infected patient. It’s vital that they adhere to the established guidelines and recommendations by public health officials and the CDC regarding proper procedures in the process of administering care. Contact an urgent care center if you have questions regarding COVID-19 and healthcare evaluation.