The Brooklyn Hospital Center Looks Forward to Seeing YouJune 8, 2020
The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC) heroically fought on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle, and remains ready in Downtown Brooklyn for those who continue to come in with COVID. But the hospital also needs to return to providing care for those patients, say, getting a knee replaced, seeking relief for a painful spine debilitation or considering life-preserving weight-loss surgery. “As COVID-19 remains in the community until a vaccine is created, we want the community to know that TBHC is open and well-prepared to deliver safe, effective and compassionate care,” says Gary G. Terrinoni, President and CEO.
The hospital has created a “COVID-safe” environment by organizing the hospital into separate areas with distinct access points, designated waiting areas, staff, nursing units and equipment. The Emergency Room, for instance, is safely handling both COVID-19 and non-COVID cases with clear protocols to keep both patient populations safe and separate from each other.
Every room and public area in the hospital is cleaned and disinfected daily following a rigorous infection protocol. Patient, procedure and operating rooms are intensively cleaned and disinfected to the highest levels. The walls and floors are disinfected, and everything is stripped from the room. The crew sweeps through on a clockwise rotation to make sure nothing is missed. As a final layer of protection, each room is misted with a deep-cleaning chemical.
Ambulatory (outpatient) appointments are scheduled to assure that a safe number of patients are allowed in the waiting room at any one time and that social distancing can be maintained at all times by both patients and staff. Masks are required to be worn by all staff, patients and those accompanying patients at the visit. Only one visitor is allowed with a patient. Patient exam rooms will be closely monitored throughout the day and disinfected. The waiting areas and common areas will be cleaned and disinfected during the day and each evening.
For any procedures or surgeries, the community should know that all staff working in pre-surgical testing and perioperative areas are being screened and tested for COVID antibodies. There are separate PACU (recovery) and nursing units. There are also adequate and separate ICU capacity and staff for both COVID-19 and non-COVID patients. All patients will be tested for COVID-19 48 hours before surgery/procedure. If positive and symptomatic, the procedure will be rescheduled. If positive and non-symptomatic, TBHC will proceed with the case.
As a further precaution, all patients and visitors will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at all access points to the hospital and ambulatory sites. All admitted patients are tested for COVID-19, and antibody testing is being conducted for all front-line employees.
Finally, many TBHC providers are accommodating telemedicine visits and there are plans for a further expansion of that program by the end of this summer.