Reid launches ‘Safe Pathways to Care’ as some activities resume
Reid Health and Reid Health Physician Associates practices are launching a "Safe Pathways to Care" initiative as the health system takes steps toward normalizing care and to counter the fear that officials say is keeping some patients with non-COVID issues from getting the care they need.
"As a health system, we have always dealt with infectious disease and implemented strict practices to prevent the spread of any infection - including COVID-19. A health system and healthcare facilities practice much more extensive measures than any other entity to reduce risk of the spread of disease," said Craig Kinyon, Reid Health President/CEO. There is no reason for anyone to delay their care. Hospitals and health systems nationally have seen a major drop in patients seeking emergency care for everything from appendicitis to heart attack, orthopedic injuries and stroke, endangering many lives in the process that has created a crisis on top of a pandemic, Kinyon added.
So as Reid facilities begin increasing access to in-person appointments, the health system is also working hard to educate the community on patient safety to assure everyone there's never any reason to delay care for other conditions or emergencies.
"Patient safety is our priority," said Jennifer Ehlers, Reid Health Vice President/Chief Quality Officer. She noted that just this month, Reid Health announced an "A" safety grade in the national Leapfrog study.
All Reid Health Physician Associates practices are in the process of sending letters to patients to alert them in-person appointments are being increased and sharing strict infection control prevention measures in the process. These include:
- Limiting traffic in waiting rooms by checking patients in from their cars when possible.
- Only allowing patients in for appointments and procedures, except in the case of children or adults who require a support person.
- Requiring all patients and support visitors to wear a mask during their entire visit.
- Masking providers and staff during all patient encounters.
- Diligent hand washing and extra cleaning precautions of surfaces and instruments.
- Keeping all exam room doors closed.
- Removing magazines, toys and other "touchable" items from waiting areas and exam rooms.
- And continuing to screen for COVID-19 symptoms at entrances.
Patients will receive a letter from each practice where they receive care. Some of the protocols may vary depending on the specialty, so patients are encouraged to read each letter.
"Our patients and their families have been extremely understanding with our strict no-visitor guidelines that were established when the pandemic began to hit," Kinyon said "We have been overwhelmed by the many gestures of support, the many donations of masks and protective equipment, lunches and more for our staff."
"Though many of the changes brought by COVID-19 will continue indefinitely, the Reid Health team is joining the patients and families served by the health system in eagerly looking forward to establishing a more normal flow to our daily lives," he said.
One positive going forward are the increased options and capacity for telehealth appointments, which offer additional safety and great convenience to patients, who can participate from anywhere using a computer, tablet or smartphone.
Reid Health is also continuing two temporary Respiratory Clinics dedicated to patients with respiratory symptoms - one at 1501 Chester Boulevard in Richmond and one at the Whitewater Valley Medical Center campus on Highway 44 in Connersville. Reid Urgent Care locations will only be treating non-respiratory patients.
"We are confident all of our providers and staff can safely continue to meet your care needs with the compassion and skill you've grown to expect from Reid Health and Reid Health Physician Associates," Kinyon said.
"We are confident all of our providers and staff can safely continue to meet your care needs with the compassion and skill you've grown to expect from Reid Health and Reid Health Physician Associates." Craig Kinyon, Reid Health President/CEO