As the number of COVID-19 patients continue to decrease on Long Island, local hospitals say they are working to ensure that the public and patients feel safe walking through its front doors while keeping a safe and clean environment.
Kenneth Roberts, president and CEO of Mather Hospital, stressed the importance of seeking out medical care.
“It is safe to come back — whether it’s coming to the hospital or going to the doctor’s offices,” he said. “People shouldn’t neglect reaching out to their healthcare providers.”
The hospital has been implementing the use of tele-medicine during the pandemic, but Roberts said there is only so much you can do remotely and that some things need to be done in person.
“Being a part of the Northwell Healthcare system, we’ve put into place new processes and procedures at the hospital,” the president of Mather Hospital said.
For hospital employees, they must attest that they are free of COVID-19 symptoms when coming into work, temperature checks are done before each person clocks in.
Roberts said all employees and doctors are required to wear face masks. Those on the frontlines who may be in contact with potential COVID patients are required to wear face shield in addition to the n-95 masks.
Another change at the hospital is the return of visitors.
“We’re allowing two visitors per patient,” Roberts said. “Before they’re able to come in there will be required to answer a series of questions and their temperatures will be checked.”
As of now, those who need to go to the emergency room are being asked to remain in their cars until a hospital employee comes to them.
Roberts said patients that come in on an emergency basis who may have COVID-19 symptoms will be tested immediately. The hospital will be administered a test and be able to get a result back in three days.
In an effort to keep the facilities clean and safe, Mather Hospital will be utilizing PurpleSun devices, which use ultraviolet light to kill germs and provide rapid disinfection.
Roberts said the patient feedback so far has been good and that a lot of them have confidence in the doctors and “have no fears.”
With the restart of elective surgeries in May, the hospital has seen more people coming in to get important procedures done.
“We’ve had over 1,000 operations that were scheduled, now we are playing catch up,” the president of the hospital said.
Each patient scheduled for surgery will receive a phone call from a hospital employee and they will conduct a preprocedural interview gathering health history as well as a screening for COVID symptoms or exposures.
Once that evaluation has been completed, patients receive two separate in-person pre-surgical testing appointments. The first appointment may include lab tests, EKG and x-rays. The second appointment is for COVID testing and is scheduled 48 hours prior to the procedure. Patients are instructed to self-quarantine leading up to their surgery.
“They’re going really well, a lot of the patients are grateful to get these procedures, but they also want to shorten their length of stay as much as possible,” Roberts said. “We want to continue to provide a safe place for our patients.”