Submitted by Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare
Last week, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) started to slowly resume elective surgeries and procedures that were stopped mid-March when hospitals were directed to stop non-urgent procedures as part of a preparative response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following government approval received last week, MAHC is cautiously beginning the first phase of a measured return-to-service plan, adhering to strict criteria established by the province that includes an appropriate supply of protective equipment, medication, staff and community services to care for recovering patients, as well as appropriate inpatient bed capacity and a manageable number of COVID-19 cases in the region and in the hospitals. Patients awaiting surgery will be contacted by their physician’s office to be advised of their procedure date.
“Ramping up under a new normal with strict requirements is very complex in two aging buildings with little flexibility for additional space needs for separation,” says CEO Natalie Bubela. “Patients will have a different experience than they might anticipate and things may take longer. New precautions and systems we are implementing in the hospitals include changes to the physical environment and patient flows that respect physical distancing, as well as changes to the pre-operative process.”
Health care has changed dramatically over the past two months, and resuming other outpatient services that were paused will take weeks not days. The pandemic continues while we co-exist with COVID-19, which means infection control and safety precautions will continue for some time under a new normal.
“As we gradually resume elective surgery and continue planning toward further phases of resuming outpatient services, we regret that restrictions on visiting will continue for some time as directed by the province,” Bubela adds. “Continuing to limit non-essential traffic in the hospitals, including support people accompanying surgical patients unless deemed an exception, is critical to ensuring the safety of all and an effective gradual ramp up.”
Bubela recognizes that service reductions have been difficult and frustrating for patients whose care has been delayed.
“MAHC is eager to provide care as soon as possible, and our top priority is to make sure everyone—patients, staff and physicians—remains safe during this pandemic,” says Bubela. “We thank everyone for their patience, understanding and co-operation as we work through the backlog.”
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!