Fitzgibbon Hospital focused on Safety during Pandemic
July 27, 2020
Since the declaration of the pandemic in March, Fitzgibbon Hospital has been on the leading edge of healthcare organizations in Missouri. From the early rollout of testing to modifications completed within the facility, patient safety and the safety of caregivers has been a constant focus. Even the decision to stand down the curbside testing and the move to swabbing inside the hospital has been focused on limiting possible Covid-19 exposure. Here are just a few of the measures implemented by Fitzgibbon Hospital to reassure community members while visiting for care.
A screener/greeter in the hospital’s main lobby greets each individual and provides a mask to anyone who does not have one upon arrival. This mask is to be worn at all times within the Fitzgibbon Hospital facility, unless specifically instructed by staff to remove the mask for a medical procedure. This greeter also works to make sure every person utilizes hand sanitizer before entering, as well as understands the need for social distancing while waiting for their test or procedure. Newly created exterior and interior signage near the lobby reminds everyone of these policies.
Patient Registration staff cleans high-contact surfaces between every patient in the registration booths, and patients are provided disinfectant wipes to cleanse their own chairs before sitting down, if they so desire. In addition, a sign-in pen bearing the Fitzgibbon logo becomes a gift to each patient after they utilize it at the front desk, and a new pen is replaced after each patient.
Chairs have been arranged in the lobby to account for social distancing. These chairs are cleaned by a dedicated staff member who alternates their cleaning schedule between the upstairs Outpatient Clinic and the main lobby throughout the day. This ensures that the chairs and surfaces in the lobby are cleaned many times per day. Additionally, staff hear announcements over the intercom at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day with a reminder to clean their work areas. Disinfectant solution, gloves and rags have been distributed widely throughout the facility, and staff are assigned in each area to wipe down high-touch areas. They are also instructed to clean their areas at the start of the work day and at the end of their shift.
A new lab specimen collection station was created directly next to the front lobby so patients, once registered, can be taken back for their Covid-19 test without having to walk to other areas of the facility. This is both a convenience and practical in terms of limiting movement within the facility. This area is also contained and is easily disinfected between patients.
By requiring a doctor’s order to receive a Covid-19 test, the numbers of individuals waiting in the lobby to receive their test is significantly reduced. Most are receiving their test in their primary care provider’s office. Fitzgibbon Hospital is currently providing approximately 50 tests per day, which is significantly lower than the 100 to 150 tests that were taking place per day before this change.
Universal masking, hand hygiene and social distancing are directly responsible for helping to keep staff and patients safe, given that the hospital has provided tests to more than 5,600 individuals as of July 23.For information on other precautions taken by the Fitzgibbon organization since the start of Covid-19, visit www.fitzgibbon.org/covid19.