We are screening and restricting access to the hospital. Learn about our COVID-19 patient and visitor guidelines and the COVID-19 vaccine.

Safely resuming elective surgeries

Gritman Medical Center has resumed performing elective surgeries. Our surgery director, Bernie Snyder, discusses the steps we have taken to safely resume surgeries and how we are protecting patients and staff.

Q: Why were surgeries canceled in the first place?
We suspended all elective surgeries to ensure we had the proper staff, supplies and equipment in place in the event of a surge of COVID-19 in our community. We are now at a point where we know more about CVOID-19, and we have the safety protocols, equipment, inventory and procedures in place to protect patients and staff. We have continued to provide emergency and emergent surgeries throughout the COVID-19 emergency.

Q: Will I get tested for COVID-19 before my surgery?
Unless you are scheduled 24 hours prior to your surgical time, you will be asked to come in for testing. Once a test sample has been collected, we are asking patients to isolate at home and practice social distancing until their procedures.

Q: What else is being done to keep me safe from COVID-19 during my procedure?
Gritman has always had thorough procedures and policies in place to keep staff and patients safe and keep the risk of infection low. Our Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) rate was already significantly better than the national benchmark, and since the COVID-19 outbreak, our processes have only been enhanced to protect patients and staff.

We have incorporated recommendations from the American College of Surgeons, the Association of Operating Room Nurses, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the American Hospital Association to help ensure your safety. We have also worked with our facilities engineer in creating a protocol that combines a number of ways to decrease an individual’s risk. By using facemasks, limiting the people allowed to enter the hospital with the patient or family member except for certain circumstances, cleaning and distancing of our patients, the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 is very low. Our hospital and clinics are very safe and people should feel comfortable seeking care and staying on top of their health.

Q: What surgeries can be performed?
Most elective surgeries will be resumed, but surgeries that generate a large amount of aerosol may still be held off until the patient tests negative for COVID-19. Your physician and surgeon will work with you and our staff to manage your case and keep you up-to-date

Q: Can I have visitors?
Unfortunately, not at this time. Our visitor restrictions are an important measure to help us keep the hospital safe from possible spread of the virus. If requested, we will keep your loved ones updated, and they can call us with any questions as well. While we understand how important the support of loved ones and friends is to patients during their hospital stay, these restrictions help us protect you, patients and the community.

Q: If I had a procedure canceled because of COVID-19, will someone be contacting me to reschedule?
Gritman is working with surgeons and patients to place canceled and delayed cases back on the schedule to get patients the care they need as quickly and safely as possible. If your surgeon’s office has not contacted you, please call them and we will make sure you get on in a timely fashion. We want to help you be as healthy and safe as possible so please don’t delay your care.