Our New Normal: Facing Medical Care After Coronavirus
Doctor visits have changed, in our post-coronavirus world. What challenges do patients and healthcare workers face as far as medical care is concerned in our new normal? Even as you make your appointment, you may notice some changes in procedure.
You may be asked to wear a face covering for your appointment. Also, you will likely answer coronavirus-related questions before you are allowed to see the doctor. A couple of examples are: Have you or someone you know been out of the country recently? Have you been sick? Be prepared to have your temperature taken before being seen by the doctor and staff, as a fever is a common symptom of the virus.
Healthcare workers who care for non-COVID-19 patients have been given the following instructions by the CDC:
- Stay informed. Consult regularly with your state or local health department for region-specific information and recommendations.*
- Optimize telehealth services, when available and appropriate, to minimize the need for in-person services.*
- Prioritize services that, if deferred, are most likely to result in patient harm.*
You will notice that a lot of waiting rooms have been modified to become “touchless”.
This includes removing magazines and sign-in sheets — anything that multiple people could come in and touch. So, how about us as patients? How should we handle our doctor visits at this time? As U.S. News reports, there is no cut-and-dried answer: Many factors have to be taken into consideration, such as our age, our health, what our physician recommends for us.**
The Washington Post states the following:
- Check with your provider as to how to proceed (or not proceed) with medical appointments.***
- Telehealth is a growing trend in the time of coronavirus. Ask your provider if this is an option in your case. As Conor Delaney, a colorectal surgeon and chairman of the Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute at Cleveland Clinic tells The Washington Post*, “Some things just don’t work well for telehealth. Anything needing a physical examination, or a formal assessment before treating, needs to be done in person.”***
- If you do decide to go to the doctor, find out in advance what the procedure is for allowing patients into the waiting room. Also, Find out if they require a face covering for you to be allowed in the office.***
One consequence of the pandemic has many in healthcare concerned: hospitals are reporting a significant drop in emergency room visits.
Dr. Andrew Pendley told Sophia Choi with WSB in Atlanta, “We’ve seen a decrease in people seeking care for time-sensitive conditions including stroke, heart attack and much more.”**** Dr. Pendley goes on to say regarding hospitals, “Our health and safety practices are as tight as they have ever been. I need people to know these hospitals are clean.”**** So, with all the safety measures in place, the risks of catching coronavirus are low in the hospitals, yet the risks of not going to the hospital for life-threatening conditions are very high and dangerous. The new normal in healthcare is going to take some adjustment on our part, yet with a little patience we can get the care we need to stay healthy. And by cooperating with our healthcare providers as they adapt to the changes in procedures, we can make their jobs easier and less stressful.
Yes, it is not what we are used to, but with just a little more effort, we can all make the new normal work!
The information offered here is not medical advice and is not intended to replace guidance offered by your medical professionals.
About GF Health Products, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with more than 300 US-based employees, GF Health Products, Inc. is a major manufacturer of healthcare products for the acute care, extended care, homecare, and primary care markets. Graham-Field product brands include Basic American Medical Products™, Everest & Jennings®, Gendron®, Grafco®, Hausted®, Intensa®, John Bunn®, Labtron®, Lumex® and Lumiscope®. Visit www.grahamfield.com or call 1.770.368.4700.