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As COVID-19 cases surge again, four major health care organizations release updated guidance on maintaining essential surgery


Joint roadmap addresses the dual need to meet health care demands for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, along with patients who need essential surgical services; calls for centralized coordinated governmental action to deploy necessary supplies

Hospitals in many regions across the United States are now reporting near or at bed and ICU capacity due to the resurgence of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is presenting new challenges in meeting the needs of patients who require essential surgical procedures. To provide guidance during the COVID-19 resurgence, the American Hospital Association (AHA), American College of Surgeons (ACS), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), and Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) have released an updated collaborative document, "Joint Statement: Roadmap for Maintaining Essential Surgery during COVID-19 Pandemic."

The Roadmap addresses the dual need to meet health care demands for patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19 as well as care for patients who need essential surgical services. It also calls out that the "need for centralized coordinated governmental action to deploy necessary supplies and alleviate the financial burden on physician practices, health care providers and facilities is critical so the health care community can continue to meet the increasing demands for care of COVID-19 patients both in the operating rooms and throughout the facility."

The COVID-19 case surge varies regionally, the document notes, presenting a roadmap that addresses that issue along with other principles and considerations to guide physicians, nurses, and local facilities in their care in operating and procedure rooms during the ongoing pandemic. Eight principles specifically addressed with specific considerations to implement are:

  1. Regional Cooperation Critical to Continuing to Provide Essential Surgery
  2. Supply Chain
  3. COVID-19 Testing within a Facility
  4. Personal Protective Equipment
  5. Case Prioritization and Scheduling
  6. COVID-19 Issues for the Five Phases of Surgical Care
  7. Collection and Management of Data
  8. COVID-related Safety and Risk Mitigation

The Roadmap concludes with mentioning several more COVID-19 related issues for consideration, including health care worker well-being, relying on evidence-based information for cleaning areas before invasive procedures, and facility-demands to address other ongoing issues (e.g., the ongoing opioid epidemic, preventative care, and social determinants of health).

Read the updated Joint Statement: Roadmap for Maintaining Essential Surgery during COVID-19 Pandemic HERE.


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