Safe in the emergency department

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

“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 tent was deployed outside 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. Tong said. “As a trusted provider, we knew we had to make patients feel safe, and show them we’re going the distance to make patients 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 seen 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.

“Everything is with the patients’ and staff’s safety in mind, but more than anything, we recommend any patient concerned about going to an emergency department or doctor’s office to call,” said Dr. Tong. “Call and ask them about your concerns and what precautions they’re taking. Ask any question that will help you feel confident and comfortable to get care.”