Infection prevention — Universal infection prevention precautions are essential in maintaining surgical patient and staff safety. As with all elective procedures, routine patient preoperative screening measures for infections should be followed.
Setting expectations for safety, productivity — For the safety of patients, staff and physicians, capacity and throughput may be diminished from the pre-pandemic benchmarks. Modified testing, PPE and cleaning considerations as well as social distancing requirements will impact productivity. Leaders will need to hold all staff accountable regarding behaviors that might complicate an already stressful environment.
Scheduling — Procedural booking processes and forms, comorbidity lists, and supply and personnel considerations should be modified to contemplate COVID-19 factors and will help determine optimal location and time of surgery.
Preparedness — Each day, a multidisciplinary team should assess system capabilities to perform elective procedures that day and look ahead to potential impacts on cases to be performed in the next 72 hours. A list of factors to be considered appears in a new report: Vizient/Sg2 guidance for resumption of electively scheduled surgery and procedures in the COVID-19 era.
Patient preparation areas, preoperative holding and PACU — Physical capacity and workflow design of preoperative areas should be assessed to maximize the use of the preoperative bed area and throughput to the operating room. Appropriate and timely evaluation of recovery and discharge from the PACU will be important to maintain throughput.
Room turnover and cleaning — Heightened cleaning of rooms and equipment may result in increased time required to turn a room.