Health care organizations release guidance for surgery during pandemic

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The American Hospital Association (AHA), American College of Surgeons (ACS), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), and Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) released an updated collaborative document, “Joint Statement: Roadmap for Maintaining Essential Surgery during COVID-19 Pandemic” on Tuesday to provide guidance on how to maintain essential surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The joint roadmap focuses on the dual need to meet health care demands for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 while meeting the needs of patients who need essential surgical services.

With hospitals across the county reporting near or at bed and ICU capacity due to a new surge in COVID-19 cases, many are also reporting challenges in safely providing essential surgical procedures to patients.

The joint report calls for “centralized coordinate governmental action to deploy necessary supplies and alleviate the financial burden on physician practices, health care providers and facilities is critical so the health care community can continue to meet the increasing demands for care of COVID-19 patients both in the operating rooms and throughout the facility.”

The report identifies eight principles to guide healthcare providers and facilities during the pandemic, including:
• Regional Cooperation Critical to Continuing to Provide Essential Surgery
• Supply Chain
• COVID-19 Testing within a Facility
• Personal Protective Equipment
• Case Prioritization and Scheduling
• COVID-19 Issues for the Five Phases of Surgical Care
• Collection and Management of Data
• COVID-related Safety and Risk Mitigation

The report also said healthcare providers and facilities should keep in mind other issues, such as healthcare worker well-being, relying on evidence-based information for cleaning areas before invasive procedures, and facility-demands.

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