A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

What to expect: Medical appointments during the pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been a challenge to resume normal activities like seeing your health care provider in-person. Early in the pandemic many health care providers delayed non-urgent care to ensure patient safety. As health care services begin to reopen for in-person appointments, you can expect many differences.

Nancy Stueland-Adamski, director of patient experience at Marshfield Clinic Health System, said the pandemic has forced many health care institutions to change policies and procedures to ensure patient safety.

“We have patients that walk through our halls on a daily basis that have conditions such as cancer and asthma that put them at an increased risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19,” said Stueland-Adamski. “These patients have to come see us, so we need to err on the side of caution at our locations.”

Below are common safety measures health care facilities, including Marshfield Clinic Health System, are putting in place to ensure patient, visitor and staff safety.

What to expect when coming back for an in-person appointment.

Health care organizations nationwide are reopening slowly after delaying appointments and procedures during the first stages of the pandemic.

Screening

When you enter a health care facility, most will have a screening station that you need to go through. The screener may ask questions about your health and will take your temperature. If you do not have a high temperature, you can proceed to your appointment.

“By screening patients and staff, it ensures people at our facilities do not have indicators that suggest they may need further evaluation for COVID-19,” Stueland-Adamski said.

Screening locations are typically at the main entrance of a health care facility. Marshfield Clinic Health System has developed a screening process for all patients and staff that enter our facilities.

Masking information

Like many health systems, Marshfield Clinic Health System has a policy that all employees must be masked during the pandemic. Patients and visitors are also required to wear a mask and are encouraged to wear their own. If they do not have a mask, one will be provided.

Less people in medical facilities

In an effort to minimize the potential exposure of our patients and staff, Marshfield Clinic Health System has made many operational changes, including:

These changes help keep patients and staff safe. They also help the Health System position providers, staff and supplies in case of a surge of patients with COVID-19.

Additional safety measures

Extra precautions the Health System is taking to keep patients and staff safe include:

  • Registration and check-in are available by phone prior to your appointment to reduce the need to stand in line and reduce time in waiting areas.
  • Social distancing is in place in facility hallways, waiting rooms and check-in desks. Patients are encouraged to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between other patients and staff members wherever possible.
  • Rooming is done quickly to reduce waiting time.
  • Appropriate cleaning and disinfection protocols are followed in all areas. Patients are encouraged to use hand sanitizers and appropriate hand washing frequently. Ample supplies are available in public areas.

Health care facilities across the country are taking similar measures to help flatten the curve and protect patients and staff.

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