Published On: May 29, 2020
St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) Prepares for Gradual Restart of Health Services
(St. Thomas, ON) In March 2020, hospitals were directed by the Ontario government to cease all non-essential and elective services, including elective surgeries, outpatient procedures, and diagnostic services to ensure adequate capacity was available to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Health amended its directive earlier this week allowing hospitals to reintroduce services in a gradual, scaled approach. In other words, hospitals are not returning to full service, which may take many months to fully accomplish. Like other hospitals, STEGH has identified top priorities for services based on patient needs.
In order to proceed with reintroducing services, STEGH must ensure it has adequate capacity to support the services, including: inpatient beds to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks in the community or in Long-Term Care homes; personal protective equipment; and laboratory capacity and drug supplies, among others.
Hospitals are also expected to maintain, to the extent possible, innovations that were implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the use of virtual tools like videoconferencing to support patient care.
“We know this has been a difficult time for our patients as they have waited to receive care while the hospital has been focused on the pandemic,” says Robert Biron, President and CEO. “Our health care team is eager and ready to begin providing these services to our patients again. However, the pandemic is not over. Our top priority is to ensure everyone – patients, staff, and our community – are safe during this time.”
Patients do not need to contact STEGH to reschedule their surgery, procedure, or diagnostic service. Physician offices and/or the hospital will contact patients to book an appointment.
The experience will be different from what may be anticipated; new precautions and systems could include changes to the physical environment and the pre-operative process. Patients will be advised of these changes prior to coming to the hospital.