SMMC Covid-19 Update March 27, 2020
March 27, 2020
Steele Memorial Medical Center (SMMC) is committed to keeping the community updated frequently on the status of the COVID-19 situation here in Lemhi County. As an essential business that is exempt from Idaho Governor Brad Little’s state wide stay-home order for the next 21 days, it will remain open during all regular times offering all their normal services at this time.
Because of the overwhelming amount of media about COVID-19, there is a lot of confusion and panic, even here in Salmon where as of today there are still no confirmed positive cases. Coming to the doctor when a patient needs care is an essential visit and is fine to do, even with this new order from our Governor.
“As much as possible, we want to assure our patients that we will provide them the same care as we always do in the clinics, in surgery, and in the hospital,” stated Jeanie Gentry, SMMC CEO. “We are going to extraordinary measures to ensure every person’s safety.”
“SMMC’s goal is to screen and route everyone into our buildings in such a way that we prevent exposure of well people to sick people,” said Lisa Loughran, Chief Nursing Officer. “I don’t want anyone to be afraid of getting coronavirus because they came to SMMC. If you need care, please come in!”
The following new steps outline the latest measures that SMMC is implementing for patient and employee safety.
Updated Employee Screening Process
Beginning Friday, March 27, SMMC will start to screen all employees and providers each day as they report for duty. Limited screening has been in place for weeks, but now every person will have his/her temperature checked daily.
Updated Patient & Visitor Screening Process
Beginning Monday, March 30, SMMC will move forward with separating “WELL” entrances from “SICK” entrances in the Hospital and Clinics.
The Primary Care Clinic and Specialty Clinic will follow their current practice in place separating “WELL” from “SICK” entrances. There will be signage directing patients and staff. At the Primary Care Clinic this will mean an alternate entrance through the Conference Center for Well patients. (see diagram below)
Screening of all patients needing to enter the Hospital will take place outside at the main front entrance. A tent has been temporarily placed near the front doors. Clinical staff will be inside asking patients and visitors questions, taking their temperatures, and directing them how to proceed. The screening will follow the criteria put forth by the CDC recommendations. Patients who enter the building will go in one of three doors.
- If a patient is “WELL” and seeking outpatient procedures/ therapy they will enter through the main entrance, screened and a band placed on his/her wrist. This includes any well patient getting labs drawn, radiology done, rehab visits, infusion therapy visits, and outpatient surgery.
- If a patient is “WELL” but needs ED care (i.e., broken ankle, stitches, etc.) they will enter in through the ED WELL entrance off Van Dreff street.
- If a patient is “SICK” they will enter through the ED SICK entrance which will be through the ambulance doors.
Visitor Guideline Updates
“To further protect patients and employees, and because SMMC resources are being stretched thin in many places, we are implementing some stronger restrictions on our Visitor Policy,” Gentry said. “Simply put, we cannot allow as many visitors into SMMC at this time.”
There are a few exceptions to the general no visitor guidelines.
- Obstetric patients may have one visitor at a time.
- Pediatric patients may have both parents accompany them.
- Patients who are at end of life may have one visitor at a time.
- Patients undergoing surgery or procedures may have one visitor who must leave the hospital as soon as patient prep is complete. The visitor can wait in a vehicle or home and will be contacted by phone as soon as possible after recovery.
- Patients who have an appointment at a clinic, laboratory, radiology, rehab, infusion therapy or who are seeking care in the Emergency Department may have one person with them if required for physical or mental assistance.
- Case-by-case exceptions will be considered by the nurse manager based upon unusual circumstances.
Guests who meet one of these exceptions will be allowed inside the hospital, but are restricted to the patient’s room and direct travel to and from the patient’s room and hospital entrances/exits, unless clinically required diversions are necessary.
“If you have a loved one in the Hospital, I understand you may have a very strong desire to see them in person all the time,” added Loughran. “For now, please use the telephone or video to communicate with them. Our staff will help you as best as we can to stay in contact with your patient.”
Gentry added that SMMC is meeting daily to prepare for various scenarios as the COVID situation develops. At this time, she reports, they have ample supplies and staff to care for the expected surge of patients from Lemhi and Custer counties.
“We are doing everything within our power to prepare for a worst case scenario,” said Gentry. “We hope that does not happen here, but if it does we will be ready. We are also meeting by phone regularly with all our community partners to coordinate resources and responses so we can respond collectively to a crisis if the need arises.”
For further questions about COVID, call the SMMC Hotline 208-756-5835.
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