Frequently Asked Questions
We have added protective measures for managing infectious diseases, COVID-19 and others, ensure that our hospital and clinics are always safe for you and your loved ones when you need care. 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. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions.
Is the hospital clean and safe?
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, we have partnered with our Environmental Services team to implement additional layers of continuous disinfection of all high touchpoint areas.
Do you have the supplies and capacity to accommodate my procedure?
Our clinical teams will conduct daily “go/no-go” meetings in which they will review crucial supplies such as PPE, medications, blood, space and staffing to ensure that we have enough to comfortably care for those undergoing elective/non-urgent procedures AND accommodate our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.
We are not booking our schedules to full capacity. Out of an abundance of caution and with the conservation of supplies in mind, we are not starting with a full schedule right away. Should things continue to progress positively, we’ll increase our capacity on a week-by-week basis. This is for your safety and ours.
Do you have enough staff to resume elective/non-urgent procedures?
Our team regularly monitors staffing levels to ensure a safe environment for all patients, providers and employees. In addition, we screen all employees daily for COVID-19 symptoms. We are confident that we have the appropriate staff and providers to resume elective and non-urgent procedures while also accommodating our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.
Will my experience be the same as in the past?
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 bandana to cover 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
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, 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, 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?
If you have a family member/spouse/friend/caregiver with you, he/she may be permitted to enter the hospital. Patients are limited to one well visitor at a time in the hospital. (At this time, our outpatient clinics and Emergency Department 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 visitors 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. Visitors who do not pass the screening at entry will be asked to reschedule their visit until they are symptom-free. Visitors are not allowed for high-risk, isolation, immunocompromised or patients who are under observation or test positive for COVID-19.
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 cloth mask (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. Thankfully, our community has not seen the surge that many were expecting. In fact, we have only treated four (4) COVID-19 positive patients requiring overnight hospitalization to date.*
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 June 23, 2020