By Donna Throgmorton, Regional Manager
As we enter a new year, COVID-19 protocols are still in place and constantly changing. My department oversees several states, so the “one size fits all” approach isn’t applicable to the different hospitals and facilities we work with.
Strict safety guidelines, as determined by the CDC, are always maintained and are not taken lightly. These guidelines include signing in at arrival of a facility, temperature checks and questionnaires at most, and then working in PPE, sometimes Full PPE which can be cumbersome to work in and care for our patients. Some facilities require a negative test for entry, even if no one in your immediate family has been exposed.
Our hospital and facility partners are great about signing people in and out. This procedure limits wait times within the facility and is an easy way to trace possible exposure if a positive COVID-19 test comes back for any of the technologists or patients. As the pandemic has progressed, the panic within hospitals has subsided, but thankfully adherence to guidelines has remained steadfast.
One example of safety protocols we follow is cleaning. Facilities are cleaning between each patient and at the end of the day. In addition, we perform a deep-cleaning procedure when a COVID-19 positive patient has been scanned. This includes a minimum 30-minute up to 3 hour air exchange with a cleaning unit in the room. Depending on the facility, some do fogging as well. Even though patients may become frustrated with the wait, we must comply with CDC recommendations to make certain we are not passing this virus or any part of it along.
In addition to our guidelines based on CDC recommendations, our staff follows all additional procedures required by hospitals or facilities to ensure all parties are safe and comfortable. Since CDC guidelines change so often, and each state and sometimes each hospital corporation has their own requirements, keeping up with these everchanging requirements is a full-time job in and of itself. Our HR director is doing a great job tracking these requirements and ensuring everyone has all the necessary paperwork and directions. At Numed, our priority is keeping everyone safe while delivering the highest quality diagnostic imaging.
We have seen an increased demand for CT scans since they can detect COVID-19 in the lungs as well as any resulting damage. Scans using mobile and rental CT units have increased greatly. We have also seen hospitals keep in-house equipment for non-COVID patients and use a mobile rental unit for COVID-19 positive patients only. It’s a different way for our rental equipment to be used, but it really seems to be working out.
In my (almost) 28 years with Numed, I can say I have never seen anything like what we are currently dealing with, but I know we are doing everything we can to keep facilities, hospitals and patients safe during this unprecedented time.
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