The patient journey during COVID-19
12th August 2020
At St John and St Elizabeth Hospital we’ve had to act accordingly to ensure we protect both our patients and staff during the pandemic and to help limit its spread.
We spoke to Outpatient Services Manager, Claire Manley, who is dedicated to ensuring that each patient’s hospital visit goes smoothly, to find out what measures have been taken to ensure their visit and treatment can continue safely during this difficult time.
Before a patient visits the Hospital
First and foremost, all patients are now screened prior to making an appointment. This means they are asked whether they have a cough, a fever, loss of taste or smell, or whether they’ve been in contact with anyone who’s tested positive to COVID-19.
If they answer yes, then they are advised not to come to the Hospital and that they need to follow government guidelines. If they answer no, then there’s another set of protocols for them to follow.
We ask patients to attend their appointments alone to reduce footfall in the Hospital, but if they need to they can bring a carer with them, or if they are a child they can bring one parent. We also ask that patients arrive five minutes before their appointment begins and no earlier to ensure we are limiting the number of patients to one person waiting for every Consultant in the clinic at that time. We ask patients to observe social distancing throughout the Hospital and request they wear a mask at all times.
All patients and staff are temperature checked at the point of entry to the Hospital as a further infection control measure.
We’ve also asked some Consultants to lengthen the time of their appointments, in order to accommodate extra cleaning between patients.
Inpatients have to follow pre- and post-surgery safety measures.
As of Monday 10th August patients who are at a higher risk and/or where they are undergoing major or complex surgery need to self isolate for 14 days prior to surgery.
However, it is essential that all patients are pre-assessed to ensure their safety during their stay with us. All patients must have a negative COVID result for the surgery to go ahead. Patients are asked to complete a comprehensive health questionnaire and our staff will then call and triage them, based on the responses the patient has given. The Hospital uses Lifebox to do this, which is our online pre-assessment tool.
72 hours prior to the day of the surgery, patients must have a COVID swab, for which we encourage patients to come into the Hospital. To do this they must travel in their own household car; they can’t use public transport or taxis. If that’s not possible, we will send out a home test kit, so they’ll do the swab themselves, and then post it back to the lab directly.
If the test comes back negative then they need to self isolate for the 72 hours leading up to the operation. Despite the reduction in the length of self isolation, patients are still required to ‘stay safe’ by strictly maintaining social distancing and effective handwashing.
As long as they’ve been triaged, their health questionnaire is fine and their COVID swab comes back negative, they will then be called the day before surgery to confirm that they have been in isolation the whole time and that they’re ready to be admitted. A final COVID screening will be conducted over the phone by the pre-assessment team to do a last check on the patient’s well being. So again, when they come into admissions, they need to come in their own transport, and they will be directed to the admissions lounge where they’ll do their paperwork and quickly be sent up to the wards. Then it’s a case of having their temperature taken and being prepared for surgery.
We are fully committed to providing outstanding service to our patients.
While our patient journeys are very similar to those of other hospitals, our commitment to excellence and our friendly staff is reflected in the fact that we received 100% patient satisfaction in our Q2 patient feedback survey – throughout the height of the COVID pandemic. We take great pride in making sure that every single patient’s journey provides them with the best, safest and fastest care possible.
Call us on +44 20 7806 4000 if you’d like to book an appointment or read more about the ways in which we are keeping our patients safe during the Coronavirus here.