Online April 17, 2020
In order to focus local resources on managing the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, “elective” surgery has been largely postponed and stopped. As the COVID-19 rates have already reached their peaks, or will do so over the next week or two (depending on location), the current focus for an increasing number of facilities is toward “ramping up” to prepare for elective operations.
The current document offers a set of principles and issues to help local facilities plan for resumption of elective surgical care.
While the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on local communities or facilities is a spectrum, we suggest facilities use this checklist as a guide to ensure issues have at least been considered. Understanding both the local facility capabilities (e.g., beds, testing, operating rooms [ORs]) as well as potential constraints (e.g., workforce, supply chain), while keeping an eye on potential subsequent waves of COVID-19 will continue to be important.
Within the categories of I. COVID-19 Awareness, II. Preparedness, III. Patient Issues, and IV. Delivery of Safe High-Quality Care, there are 10 distinct issues to be addressed locally before elective surgery may be safely reinstituted. Evaluating and addressing each of these 10 issues will help facilities to not only optimally provide safe and high-quality surgical patient care, but also to ensure that surgery resumes, and doesn’t stop again.