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Patient Health & Safety Top Priorities at Samaritan

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In keeping with state guidelines, Samaritan Health Services has resumed many non-urgent surgeries, procedures and clinic visits.

Sandra West of Philomath recently re-started her pulmonary rehabilitation exercise course at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. West said she is impressed with Samaritan’s procedures to minimize exposure to COVID-19.

“The first time I went, I was nervous from the time I got out of my car,” West said. “But now I don’t mind going at all because they keep everything so clean. I’ll wipe the machine down after I’m done with it, and then they clean it right after me.”

Patients and visitors are greeted at the hospital by an employee who asks if they have any symptoms of the virus, whether they have had contact with someone with the virus and if they have been tested with a positive result. All of these questions are on large signs at each hospital entry point for patients and visitors.

Following the symptom and exposure screening, patients must sanitize their hands before proceeding to their appointment. Patients also need to bring their own face covering.

“The questions are reassuring,” West said.“ The staff at the entrance do a great job, and the girls upstairs in the rehab department are wonderful.”

Bane Ashley, who recently completed a course of cardiac rehabilitation sessions at GSRMC, does not feel concerned about safety with these procedures in place.

“Having the questions in large type on the signs is good, for those of us who are older,” said Ashley, also of Philomath.

Lesley Ogden, MD, CEO of Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital and Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital, said the COVID-19 pandemic has led Samaritan to enhance its already strict infection prevention measures.

“We want to make sure you know that if you need health care, we are here for you. It is important not to delay needed care,” Dr. Ogden said.

Ashley and West said anyone can feel safe with these measures in place.

“Don’t be afraid to go to the hospital,” West said. “It’s clean, and everyone sanitizes their hands and wears masks. My kids were nervous about me going, but I said there’s nothing to be nervous about. With my bad heart and bad lungs, I wouldn’t go if it was spooky.”

“With the door greeters, the masks, the hand sanitizing, the questions and the isolated area where you sit while you wait for someone to come get you, it’s so safe it’s off the charts,” Ashley said.

If you need care, calling your care provider should be your first step so your current health concerns and health history can be assessed, and the most appropriate kind of care offered. This may be telehealth in the comfort of your own home, or an in-person visit at the doctor’s office. 

“If an in-person visit is the best option, we want you to know about the many precautions we take to ensure our facilities are safe and clean,” said Dr. Ogden. 

Those precautions include:

Visitor Restrictions 

Visitor restrictions reduce traffic within all Samaritan facilities.

Screening Precautions

All who enter are subject to screenings for cold and flu-like symptoms. This also includes checking visitors’ temperatures. Patients are also screened in advance during appointment reminder calls. 

Limited In-Person Appointments

Samaritan clinics offer telehealth visits by video or phone whenever possible. This saves in-person visits for those who really need them and further minimizes traffic in Samaritan facilities.

Deep Cleaning & Disinfecting 

Exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned between each patient, and common areas and high-touch surfaces are cleaned many times each day.

Keeping Physical Distance 

Samaritan has arranged lobbies and other common areas to encourage physical distancing. Appointment check-in processes have also been modified. 

Covering Up

Patients and visitors are asked to bring and wear a mask or face covering (cloth mask, bandanna, scarf) when entering any Samaritan facility. Samaritan does not require face coverings for children under the age of 2, or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. All staff members are required to wear masks and additional necessary protective equipment per Samaritan policy.

Separating patients who might have COVID-19. Samaritan is sending patients with COVID-19 symptoms to specific clinic spaces if they need to be seen in person. These areas are separated from other patients. The emergency departments also have rooms designated for treating COVID-19.

“If you have cold or flu-like symptoms or you think you may have COVID-19, contact your primary care provider or if the need is urgent, call the nearest urgent care or emergency department first if at all possible,” said Dr. Ogden. “By calling first, you are allowing us to direct you to the most appropriate care and prepare for your arrival.”

If you don’t have a primary care provider, call 800-863-5241 for help finding a provider.

Learn more about COVID-19 at samhealth.org/Coronavirus.

Download a printable flyer with the precautions Samaritan is taking to make patient safety a top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Descargar en español manteniéndote seguro en clínicas y hospitales de Samaritan.