Our hospital is clean and safe – just like it always has been! One of the core elements of properly managing infectious diseases is the cleanliness of our facility. In addition to our regular cleaning processes, our Environmental Services team has implemented additional layers of continuous disinfection throughout the hospital.
Our clinical teams conduct daily meetings in which we review crucial supplies such as PPE, medications, blood and space to ensure that we have enough to care for those undergoing elective/non-urgent procedures as well as meeting our normal emergent patient care needs.
Our team regularly monitors staffing levels to ensure a safe environment for all patients, providers and employees. We are confident that we have the appropriate staff and providers for elective and non-urgent procedures as well as meeting our normal emergent and potential COVID-19 patient care needs. Should patient care demands exceed out capacities, we have a robust processes to leverage the patient care network to see that these demands are met. We do this through our hospital partners in the region.
Your experience in our facility may look a little different than in the past, but this is because we have new processes and procedures in place to further protect your health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What should I expect during my procedure?
Upon arrival at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions and provided with a cloth mask (if you do not already have one). If you have your own mask or face covering (covering your mouth and nose), you can wear that.
We continue to operate under a zero-visitor protocol out of an abundance of caution, so your family member/spouse/friend/caregiver will not be permitted to enter the hospital. We will gather their contact information so we can follow up with them to provide an update after your procedure and share instructions for pick up at the same location.
You may never see another patient while you are here, and that is intentional for now. We are currently trying to minimize overlap in an effort to promote social distancing, conserve resources, and protect the safety of all of our patients and employees.
You are going to be asked COVID-19 screening questions multiple times by multiple people, up until you are admitted for your procedure. You may get tired of these questions, but we assure you they are for your health and safety, and that of our staff.
You may never see the faces of your care team members under their protective equipment. We do regret this, as the personal connections we have with our patients and community are what keep us going. However, this is an important precaution we are taking to protect you and our clinical staff.
What questions will I be asked during the screening?
The questions are part of our standard COVID-19 screening process and include asking if you have:
- Shortness of Breath
- Contact with a person testing positive for COVID-19
- Traveled outside the area in the past 14 days
- Had exposure to person under investigation for COVID-19 in the past 14 days
- Previously tested positive for COVID-19
Whenever you are asked, please answer these screening questions honestly. If your procedure has to be postponed, it will be just that: postponed. It does NOT mean it will be canceled, and we will work with you to reschedule as soon as possible.
How will I prepare for my procedure?
If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be encouraged to practice “safer at home” behaviors for seven days to minimize potential exposure prior to your procedure. This means going a step further from social distancing – trying only to leave your home for critical needs such as groceries or going to the pharmacy. If you need to leave for an essential purpose, you must wear a mask and ALWAYS practice good hand hygiene. You will also be asked to check your temperature and report any result above 100°F to your provider.
Finally, like all patients at our hospital, you will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure as an additional precaution. (If you are having an imaging procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.)
Will I be tested for COVID-19?
If you are having a surgical or invasive procedure, or are expected to stay the night at the hospital, you will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure. Your provider will place the order for the test, and the hospital will reach out with instructions for scheduling. If your test happens to be positive, your procedure will be postponed, and you will be given instructions related to your care. If you are having an imaging or non-invasive procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.
Can my family member/spouse/friend/caregiver come with me to the hospital?
At this time, we are continuing to adhere to the zero-visitor protocol and are not allowing visitors, except for a caregiver actively involved in the patient's care and one parent or guardian for minors. All caregivers must be 16 years of age or older, will be screened upon entry and are required to wear a mask and a wristband while in the facility. Caregivers who do not pass the screening at entry will be asked to reschedule their visit until they are symptom-free.
What happens when I arrive for my procedure?
When you arrive at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions and provided with a mask or cloth face covering (if you do not already have one). If you have your own mask to cover your mouth and nose, you can wear that.
Will I be treated near COVID-19 patients?
We are not performing elective/non-urgent procedures on COVID-19 positive patients at this time.
All patients who test positive for an infectious disease, including COVID-19, are isolated for treatment in accordance with Idaho Public Health and CDC guidelines. Our hospital has dedicated isolation rooms for treatment of patients under investigation (PUIs) and patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
The CDC has reported that most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. At St. Joseph, the same have been true. Most people who tested positive for COVID-19 had mild symptoms and were able to recover safely at home.
If I have additional questions about my procedure, who should I contact?
If you have any questions, please call your provider office or our main number at 208.743.2511 and asked to be connected to the department that will be performing the procedure, i.e. Radiology, Sleep Lab, Outpatient Heart & Vascular Center, Endoscopy, etc.
*Updated Dec. 1, 2020