How a Pandemic Changed Hospital Procedures

What You Should Know About How We Changed Because of COVID-19.

Several times a year, HSHS hospitals plan and drill for the unexpected. We know to anticipate the scenario, but to realize the timing cannot be predicted.

Talking and drilling for a pandemic helped HSHS hospitals understand the imminent needs and procedures that would have to change on a dime. That’s what caused all clinical areas to follow universal precautions with every patient for an extended period of time.

“As we monitor the spread of the virus and the opening of many communities, we constantly evaluate changes to our PPE response. This time it resulted in utilizing universal precautions,” said Robin Schultz, emergency department director for HSHS in western Wisconsin.

Universal Precautions 

Universal precautions is an approach to infection control to treat all human blood and certain human body fluids as if they were known to be infectious for HIV, HBV and other bloodborne pathogens.

“This is important for the general public to know we take every precaution necessary to stop the transmission of illness or disease,” said Schultz. “When following universal precautions, we wear gowns, gloves, masks, and eye protection/face shields when seeing and treating all patients. We remove the PPE (personal protective equipment) between each and every patient. And we are always diligently washing our hands.”

As we move forward with COVID-19 in our world, Dr. Marc Shelton, HSHS Chief Physician Executive, said there are many teachings from what we are going through.

“One of the exciting things to me is that when the dust settles, people are going to look back at the data and they’re going to learn some things that weren’t known before,” he said of the virus and the disease. “(We will) use that to reduce the chances of this happening again.

“It might not happen in the next 12 months, but it will happen in our lifetime.”


You may also be interested in “Don’t Let Coronavirus Stop You From Getting Emergency Care.”