Four national organizations have released a joint statement on maintaining essential surgical procedures as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) reported on August 13.
The joint statement from the ACS, American Society of Anesthesiologists, AORN, and American Hospital Association, provides a list of principles and considerations to guide physicians, nurses, and hospitals/health systems.
Among the principles:
Facilities should cooperate regionally to ensure they have appropriate number of ICU and non-ICU beds, PPE, testing supplies, ventilators, and trained staff to treat all nonelective patients without resorting to a crisis standard of care.
- Hospitals, professional societies, and government agencies should work together to ensure adequate vital equipment and medications.
- Facilities should protect staff and patients with available testing and implement a policy for testing in accordance with CDC guidelines.
- Facilities should not provide nonemergent essential surgical procedures unless they have adequate PPE and surgical supplies.
- Organizations should establish a case prioritization policy committee consisting of surgery, anesthesiology, and nursing leadership to develop a case prioritization strategy.
Organizations should adopt policies addressing care issues specific to COVID-19 and the postponement of surgical scheduling.
- Facilities should reevaluate and reassess policies and procedures, based on COVID-19 related data, resources, testing, and other clinical information.
In addition, organizations should have a face covering and social distancing policy for staff, patients, and visitors in nonrestricted areas.
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