Hospitals ensure patient, staff safety during emergency care

June 01, 2020
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While nobody wants to go to the hospital during a contagious outbreak, emergencies sometimes happen. Maybe it’s a bad burn, a broken arm or leg, or something else that needs immediate attention.

It’s important that people get critical care when they need it. Call 911 if a situation is life-threatening. Otherwise, head to the ER.

Edward-Elmhurst Health Emergency Departments (EDs) — located in Elmhurst, Naperville and Plainfield — are ready to provide care to anyone who needs it. Even if the issue is not COVID-19-related, the Edward-Elmhurst ER teams are here to handle it while keeping everyone safe.

Before and during COVID-19, Edward and Elmhurst Hospitals have earned national recognition in patient safety and quality. In Leapfrog Group’s Spring 2020 Hospital Safety Grades, Edward Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital each earned an A grade, with Elmhurst Hospital maintaining its straight-A streak since grading began in 2012.

To keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the following measures are in place at Edward-Elmhurst’s EDs:

  • Visitor screening and restrictions. Before entering the EDs, all staff, patients and visitors are screened for a temperature greater than 100 degrees and masked. Visitors are restricted at all sites. Patients in the EDs may have one support person age 18 or older. Both parents may accompany children under 17.
  • Strict cleaning and disinfecting. Extra staff are assigned to clean the EDs hourly.
  • Designated COVID-19 care areas. There are multiple safety measures in place to minimize risk of COVID-19 cross-contamination, including separating patients with respiratory symptoms to designated areas in the ED. Critically ill patients with known or suspected COVID-19 are placed in negative-pressure isolation rooms with a separate airflow system and dedicated care teams.
  • Staff personal protective equipment (PPE). All ED staff take extra precautions and wear proper PPE, including surgical masks, protective eyewear, gowns and gloves, when interacting with patients. The staff wears additional PPE as appropriate for specific situations.
  • COVID-19 patient testing prior to procedures. Daily testing is available at Edward-Elmhurst’s drive-up COVID-19 testing site for patients with a physician’s order. In the ED, COVID-19 testing is taking place for patients with COVID-19 symptoms or prior to a procedure (e.g., surgery, cardiac catheterization).
  • Physical distancing to limit exposure. Patient registration is being done remotely. Patient rooms have portable X-rays and phones for nurses and physicians to be in constant communication while limiting exposures. ED waiting areas are monitored by triage team leaders who help ensure social distancing.

ED processes for time-sensitive conditions that require immediate intervention, such as stroke or cardiac symptoms, remain in place. Additionally, Edward Hospital’s Pediatric Emergency Department in Naperville continues to maintain specialized staff and hours of operation to provide the highest level of emergency care for children.

For updates on COVID-19, check EEHealth.org/coronavirus.