Day Kimball Healthcare (DKH) is taking a thoughtful, gradual approach to resuming select procedures and services that have been delayed due to executive orders related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
A phased reactivation plan began this week in accordance with guidelines set forward by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH). As DKH re-opens certain patient services, it will maintain extensive safety measures and initiatives it put into place early on in the crisis by establishing COVID-safe care standards across all of its locations.
Given the low infection rates in Windham County, along with a strong supply of personal protective equipment and the implementation of numerous safety measures, DKH leaders determined that now is the right time to begin treating patients who have had their screenings, surgeries, exams, or other care postponed.
“In preparation for the pandemic, we revised our operations to create a safe, COVID-19 free environment for patients and staff, we delayed non-urgent surgery, and we scaled up telehealth services across our healthcare system,” said Joseph Adiletta, interim president, Day Kimball Healthcare. “Now we’re ready to resume much of what was put on pause during this health crisis with continued and enhanced safety practices.”
“Our plan to reopen is a careful and phased approach that is mindful of social distancing,” said John O’Keefe, chief nursing office and vice president of patient services, Day Kimball Healthcare. “We are conducting mandatory screenings of all patients, staff, and visitors upon entry at our facilities. We’re also providing masks to patients and staff, and limiting visitors. And, we are testing patients for COVID-19 prior to scheduling selected procedures performed in the operating room,” O’Keefe explained.
DKH’s reactivation plan includes resuming certain patient services, including cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation; Day Kimball Medical Group office procedures including urology and dermatology; mammography screenings and bone density screenings; EEG services; endoscopies; sleep disorder center services; laboratory services; physical therapy, speech, and occupational therapy services; and pulmonary function testing.
DKH urges individuals not to delay care, especially when a medical emergency arises. Throughout the pandemic, the Townsend Emergency Medical Center at Day Kimball Hospital has remained opened and ready to treat any emergency, 24/7, in a safe, COVID-19 free environment.
“We understand how a pandemic of this nature raises concerns and fear in people,” said Adiletta. “We want our community to be assured Day Kimball continues to be vigilant in our implementation of infection prevention protocols and are here to care for you in a safe environment. Please do not hesitate to seek care out of fear of contracting COVID-19.”
DKH’s COVID-safe care standards build on its clinical expertise to contain COVID-19 and ensure the safest environment possible at each facility.
“DKH has always had rigorous infection control and safety protocols in place and we’ve enhanced those precautions in response to COVID-19.” said Adiletta. “Our patients can trust that we have taken extra measures to screen patients and staff and disinfect our facilities to minimize the risks of incidental exposure.”
In the wake of the pandemic, DKH established many new safety protocols including the consistent use of masks and other personal protective equipment among health care workers, symptom screening of employees before building entry, and testing of certain patients prior to their hospital admission or procedures.
These new safety protocols will continue to remain in effect as the healthcare system reopens. Everyone inside a DKH facility will still be required to wear a mask, visitors will not be allowed, all appointments that don’t require a physical exam will be conducted via video or telephone, and health care workers will have their symptoms checked daily.
In addition, all patients will be screened in advance of appointments and will have their symptoms checked upon arrival to a DKH facility.
Positive patients, or those displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and are awaiting test results, are isolated in separate care areas from non-COVID-19 positive patients. Individuals who think they may have COVID-19 or have been exposed are still encouraged to contact their health care provider before coming to a DKH facility.
“Our caregivers have gone above and beyond to demonstrate their commitment to the Northeast Connecticut community,” said Adiletta. “Their skills and expertise made all the difference as we worked to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Thanks to their efforts, and our community’s commitment to social distancing requirements, we have remained the safest hospital in Connecticut during the pandemic and we now stand ready to safely welcome patients with other health care needs.”
Learn more at daykimball.org/return-to-care.