Wellness Wednesday: Keeping patients safe during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 2:50 PM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 16:54:08-04

SALT LAKE CITY — In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Intermountain Healthcare is taking precautions to keep patients, caregivers, and the community safe with new visitor restriction policies at all of its hospitals, clinics, and InstaCares in Utah and Idaho.

The new visitation policy is modeled from guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Utah Department of Health.

The new policy, which went into effect, Monday, March 9, 2020 at all Intermountain Healthcare hospitals, clinics, InstaCares, and physician offices includes:

· If you are sick, please do not visit or accompany a patient, and do not enter the facility except to seek care for yourself.
· Only two visitors or companions of a patient may visit at a time.
· No visitors or companions under the age of 18.
· There will be no visitors allowed to patients who have confirmed or possibly have COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
· Please wash your hands or use alcohol sanitizer before and after leaving a patient room, exam room and a facility.
· Speak with a nurse or receptionist about exceptions and special circumstances.

As a reminder, if you have any of the following symptoms or criteria of COVID-19; fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath; recent close contact with a COVID-19 patient; or travel to an area where it is active, you may have been exposed to COVID-19.

You’re asked to call ahead before you come into an Intermountain facility for care or download the Intermountain Connect Care app for a virtual visit and assessment.

“The number of people accessing these services has skyrocketed in the past two weeks,” said Kerry Palakanis, DNP, APRN, executive director of Intermountain Connect Care. “Using Connect Care is just like seeing a healthcare provider at an urgent care facility like an InstaCare, except you can do it from anywhere at any time. No appointment is necessary, and your regular Intermountain doctor can see a record of your visit.”

A regular Connect Care visits costs $59 or less depending on your insurance (which is not required).

“For those calling about COVID-19, we use a screening assessment as suggested by the CDC to gauge your risk of the disease,” said Todd J. Vento, MD, medical director of Intermountain Infectious Disease TeleHealth. “We also do not charge for those screenings but can help you find a caregiver, if you need one.”

In addition to Connect Care, Intermountain is offering a free Health Answers call-in line for the community. Health Answers can be reached by calling 844-501-6600.