August 13, 2020

Joint statement provides guidance for maintaining essential surgery during COVID-19 pandemic

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

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.


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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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