FRASER Health announced on Monday it is resuming elective surgeries which were postponed to ensure capacity in the hospitals to support patients with COVID-19, and it has implemented new solutions to help keep patients, staff and medical staff safe.
New infrastructure and technical solutions are in place to support virtual delivery of pre-admission clinic services where appropriate. This new model of care will reduce the need for patients to come to the hospital for in-person visits before their surgeries and will include virtual assessments, consultations and individual or group education sessions.
Fraser Health said while the pandemic continues to evolve, it is actively working to safely resume elective surgeries while continuing to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
Fraser Health has started contacting patients who had their surgeries postponed to inform them of the restart plan and ask whether they would like to continue with their surgery while COVID-19 is still a concern. It said it recognizes that some individuals may wish to continue to postpone their surgery at this time. Surgical services are expected to begin May 19 with detailed screening and risk assessment, as capacity increases over four weeks to near normal pre-COVID productivity levels.
In an effort to support as many people as possible, Fraser Health will also maximize its ability to provide minor procedures that do not require an operating room, as well as day surgeries that do not require overnight stays in hospital. Patients who require urgent, emergent and oncology-related surgeries will continue to be prioritized.
To minimize transmission of COVID-19 for patients, staff and medical staff, a number of measures will be implemented as part of the surgical process:
- When possible, patients will be assessed through a virtual pre-admission clinic by video conference prior to surgery.
- Consistent screening tools and risk assessment guidelines will be used.
- Patients will be assessed 24 to 72 hours prior to surgery and upon arrival the day of surgery.
- Surgeries will be scheduled with time to accommodate additional cleaning and infection control measures.
Patients will be rescheduled based on priority determined by their surgeon.
To provide surgeries to patients as quickly as possible, Fraser Health will be back to full surgical capacity as soon as it can and will expand operating room capacity over the coming months. This plan is dependent on several factors such as adequate supply of personal protective equipment, full commitment of all partners, and monitoring of possible fall/winter resurgence of COVID-19.
For more information about COVID-19, visit fraserhealth.ca/covid19.