Patients fear that they will get infected with Co-Vid 19 while visiting the hospital. We can understand the logic of this fear as patients are sick in the hospital and maybe many of them may have Co-vid 19.
I read through a few media reports on this. Many feel that Co-Vid 19 is highly infectious and its more prevalent in the community than in the hospitals but most patients don’t think this way.
There are some reports of cross infection within the hospitals but perhaps this occurred during the early stage of the pandemic.
Hospitals Are Safe
An article from Cleveland written by Tomislav Mihaljevic, President and Chief Executive Officer at Cleveland Clinic says his hospital is safe. He said in his article published in Linkedin “I can assure you that our hospitals are among the safest places one can visit. The risk of community exposure is much greater, which is why we all must remain vigilant even as stay-at-home orders and other public restrictions are relaxed” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/services-resume-our-hospitals-remain-safe-tomislav-mihaljevic/?msgConversationId=6664083135833219072&msgOverlay=true&trackingId=9l8vnsFuF%2F8Ah%2FMB62fgpA%3D%3D
I believe almost all hospitals are safe from the high risk of contracting this dreadful virus. We must understand in most parts of the world there are Co-Vid 19 designated and Non-Co Vid 19 hospitals in order to contain the spread of the disease.
In designated hospitals for this pandemic, very strict protocols and isolation guidelines are followed hence the spread of this disease is strictly controlled. The risk of cross infection is unlikely.
The Catastrophe Effect of Avoiding Treatment
Many patients choose not to seek treatment when there are early signs of a potential dangerous health event. Heart attacks and strokes are often not seen in the hospitals recently because of the fear of contracting Co-Vid 19.
The Guardian reported this “While no reliable statistics are available on how many Americans with non-Covid-related illnesses are avoiding the health system, doctors responding to an informal Twitter poll reported a 40% reduction in heart attack patients. Cigna, the insurance company, said patients were not actively seeking care for urgent health needs, citing significant reductions in hospitalizations for GI bleeds, seizures and appendicitis” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/06/dying-at-home-non-covid-19-hospitals-coronavirus
This reduction of hospital visits mean that many of these patients may succumb at home or arrive at hospitals when in emergency and often not salvageable.
Hospitals Will Ensure Safe Environment
We are are now pretty advance in our management of Co-Vid 19 and guidelines in all hospitals are stringent. In fact it’s safer in hospitals than outside in a community which is not tested.
CDC has guidelines for hospitals to follow and most countries have adopted and further improved on these steps to make hospitals safe for all patients.
[CDC: Centres of Disease Control & Prevention in USA: CDC is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services. View CDC’s Official Mission Statements/Organizational Charts to learn more about CDC′s organizational structure.]
The checklist on the CDC webpage has detailed all the required steps for hospitals to follow: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/hcp-hospital-checklist.html
Some aspects in the CDC webpage has important points for hospital to follow as such:
All hospitals should ensure their staff are trained, equipped and capable of practices needed to:
- Prevent the spread of respiratory diseases including COVID-19 within the facility
- Promptly identify and isolate patients with possible COVID-19 and inform the correct facility staff and public health authorities
- Care for a limited number of patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as part of routine operations
- Potentially care for a larger number of patients in the context of an escalating outbreak while maintaining adequate care for other patients
- Monitor and manage any healthcare personnel that might be exposed to COVID-19
- Communicate effectively within the facility and plan for appropriate external communication related to COVID-19
Patients should visit their doctors at hospitals for regular check ups without fear as some chronic conditions can result into a sudden emergency. We also know from statistics that uncontrolled non-communicable disease [NCD] conditions can be a mortality factor if Co-Vid 19 infection occurs.
Some other conditions not directly related to NCDs should also be frequently followed up. Patients must keep healthy and get back to see their doctors in all specialities as this virus is not here for a short time. The pandemic will last few more months or even years till a confirmatory treatment or vaccine is manufactured.
Important advice is to keep social distance, wear a mask and wash hands before and after visiting the doctor till reaching home. Get your self tested for Co-Vid 19 if you think there is a potential risk exposure. Always follow the latest development from the authorities.
WHO advice on Non Communicable Disease and Co-Vid 19:
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