Frontline workers are an essential group in the healthcare system who experience the things in this pandemic that many are too afraid to even think about. They are dedicated healthcare personnel who are providing medical care to COVID-19 patients, being fully aware of the threat to their safety, but brave and committed enough to administer treatment and save lives nonetheless.
COVID-19 has placed an extraordinary burden on healthcare systems across the country and healthcare providers are forced to adapt to the changes that the pandemic has brought. In this COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers must adhere to the protocols and guidelines established by public health organizations to protect workers and patients alike, by preventing the spread of coronavirus in healthcare facilities.
COVID-19 Patients and Triage
How patients are evaluated is a crucial aspect of public safety. Healthcare providers must take extra precaution when triaging patients with COVID-19 and cannot administer care in the same way that they would a non-COVID-patient. It’s paramount that special care is taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and as such, healthcare providers must have knowledge of how to triage patients with a suspected case of COVID-19 infection and those infected. Evaluating a patient’s travel history, contact tracing, and an assessment for signs and symptoms of acute respiratory infection or fever are important aspects of triage of COVID patients. Triage staff must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when evaluating a patient. Tele-triage may be offered by some healthcare facilities to safely assess patients and provide care while they stay home.
Healthcare Provider Checklist
Healthcare providers must establish a checklist that highlights clear steps to combat the transmission and spread of COVID-19. Healthcare providers must follow key guidelines relevant to preparing the patient for transport and patient in the case of a confirmed or possible case of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation include the crucial steps:
- Having up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 signs and symptoms, viral testing, case definitions for COVID-19, and vaccination.
- Review the facility’s infection control and prevention policies, as wells as CDC infection control recommendations for COVID-19, relevant to:
- The assessment and triage of patients suffering from acute respiratory symptoms, like shortness of breath
- Placement of patient
- Implementation of contact, standard, and airborne safety measures
- Management and exclusion of visitors
- Source control measures for patients suspected of infection
- The guidelines for performing aerosol-generating procedures.
- Look out for patients who come in and fit the definition of persons under investigation (PUI).
- Be knowledgeable on how to report to the appropriate officials a potential COVID-19 case or exposure.
- Immediately after an unprotected exposure, you should know who, when, and how to seek evaluation by occupational health services, and stay home if you are feeling ill.
- Know how to connect with state or local public health agency
Healthcare providers have enabled access to telemedicine visits, been providing COVID-19 testing, and offering in-person care with personal protective equipment, and COVID vaccinations. Contact an urgent care center if you have questions regarding COVID-19 and healthcare evaluation. Don’t forget to inquire about COVID vaccination as well.