Safe in the emergency department

Archive, January, Month

“We’re going the distance to make them feel comfortable and cared for in the ER.”

“When the coronavirus first hit, we knew immediately that we’d have to take precautions to keep all patients safe in the emergency department,” said Dr. James Larkin, emergency physician and medical director of emergency medicine at McLaren Macomb. “And not only safe, we knew we would have to make them feel comfortable about coming to our emergency department.

“Right away, we implemented far-reaching safety measures in our care environments, because we knew they might be anxious about seeking care.”

In March, reports about the coronavirus on TV soon became a reality in the region — positive cases and, unfortunately, deaths in Southeast Michigan. Almost immediately, a testing tent was deployed outside of the emergency department to keep COVID-19- suspected patients from having to enter the facility, protecting non-COVID-19 patients inside.

Despite the pandemic, people were still experiencing chest pains and suffering lacerations and other conditions requiring immediate treatment.

Anxiety about this virus and concern around catching it caused many people to choose – either stay home and delay treatment for a medical condition or potentially risk exposure to a dangerous virus.

“It was tough to see patients thinking they had to make a choice when it came to their health, putting themselves in jeopardy,” Dr. Larkin said. “As a trusted provider, we knew we had to make patients feel safe and show them we’re going the distance to make them feel comfortable and cared for in the ER.”

Emergency physicians say the most vital precaution added since the pandemic outbreak has been immediately isolating all suspected COVID-19 patients away from the rest of the patients.

These patients are promptly identified because all patients are screened for coronavirus symptoms as they enter the building.

And all patients being treated in the emergency department are attended to by physicians wearing the recommended personal protection equipment as endorsed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cleaning the entire room, especially high-touch surfaces – beds, chairs, countertops, sinks, bathrooms – has been increased from its already frequent schedule.

For patients concerned about safety when going to see their doctor, physicians recommend calling — call the doctor’s office or hospital information to learn more about the precautions being taken.

“Ask any questions that will help you feel confident and comfortable to get care,” Dr. Larkin said.


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Safe care at McLaren

See the steps McLaren Macomb has taken to provide care in a safe, clean environment.

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