Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/29/2020 --COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, has made us aware of social distancing, staying home, and being conservative in choices to places to travel to and visit. But one thing that hasn't changed is that hospitals and clinics are still safe to use to meet patient healthcare needs. In fact, Intermountain Healthcare experts say it is important not to put off regular visits and individuals definitely shouldn't ignore potentially life-threatening problems. Intermountain, as most healthcare systems across the county, have taken steps to be here for our communities.
First, it is important to know that all Intermountain hospitals and clinics are safe as essential precautions have been instituted for everyone's safety.
While some medical services were temporarily postponed to address the pandemic, the current status of COVID-19 in Utah has allowed most services to resume.
Still, as medical services are resuming, it is not business as usual quite yet. There are additional precautions and in place at all Intermountain facilities such as symptom checks for anyone entering, extra cleaning and the use of personal protective equipment for all. Visitors are still temporarily restricted. For the current visitor guidelines, visit IntermountainHealthcare.org/Visitors.
Hospitals in Utah and nationally have seen reductions in the number of people coming in for help with symptoms that are potentially life-threatening. Nationally, a study found that there has been a 40 percent reduction in people getting their stroke symptoms evaluated.
"During the COVID-19 pandemic, some doctors have seen cases of patients waiting too long to seek life-saving treatment and we certainly don't want that to happen," said Dr. Megan Donohue, neurologist for the Intermountain Healthcare Neurosciences Institute. "When it comes to a stroke, time lost equals brain lost. The more rapidly we're able to recognize a stroke and provide interventions to restore blood flow, the more likely the patient is to have a positive outcome."
There are currently vaccines available for children and teens that keep them safe and protected from harmful diseases such as measles and whooping cough.
Pediatricians stress that it's important and safe to access medical care including newborn care and well-child checkups that involve childhood vaccines. It's vital that children and teens maintain their vaccination schedules to stay safe and healthy.
Pediatric offices have created ways to allow children and teens to safely access these important appointments – while minimizing risk of COVID-19 exposure. These strategies include a combination of ways to separate sick and well children, such as scheduling well visits in the morning and other visits in the afternoon or separating patients into different areas of the clinic.
Many clinics are using other innovative strategies as well, such as phone check-ins from vehicles and then going straight to a clinic exam room, or curbside services which means avoiding lobbies altogether.
Telehealth visits have become an important option during this COVID-19 time. This is where you can use your computer or smartphone to have a video visit with a provider. Some physicians have been scheduling appointments over the past months this way in lieu of having patients come into a medical facility.
Intermountain Connect Care, a telehealth service, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Providers are there to help, and if needed, refer you to a clinic or hospital if further evaluations or screening is needed.
"Using Connect Care is just like seeing a healthcare provider at an urgent care facility like an InstaCare (urgent care facility), 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," said Kerry Palakanis, executive director of Intermountain Connect Care.
You can download the Intermountain Connect Care app for Apple or Android, or go to intermountainconnectcare.org for more information.
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see intermountainhealthcare.org.