Halton Healthcare has started to gradually resume non-urgent scheduled services at its three community hospitals.
“The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March resulted in the postponement of many hospital based services including elective surgeries and procedures,” said Denise Hardenne, Halton Healthcare’s President & CEO. “While we were able to continue to provide urgent and emergent care, including cancer treatment and kidney dialysis, care that clinicians felt could be safely deferred was postponed at the direction of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. We are now well positioned to begin the gradual implementation of our Restart Plan.”
Halton Healthcare’s Restart Plan was developed using the government’s guiding principles and was aligned with Ontario Health’s approach to planning for surgeries and procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To secure approval to begin the restart process, Ontario hospitals are required to meet a number of preset criteria and be able to quickly respond to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
“We received approval of our Restart Plan in June and immediately began the process of implementing Phase 1 which includes rescheduling non-urgent surgeries and procedures, including diagnostic exams,” said Ms. Hardenne.
“Many people in our communities have been waiting for hospitals to reschedule surgeries and procedures that were delayed due to the pandemic,” explained Dr. Daniel Edgcumbe, Halton Healthcare’s Vice President of Medical Affairs. “We are pleased to be in a position to safely begin providing non-urgent services again.”
Patients whose surgeries and procedures are being rescheduled will be contacted by their physician or one of the Halton Healthcare hospitals. They will receive a call in advance of their appointment to explain the new processes, including screening protocols and specific arrival times.
Coming to Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, Milton District Hospital or Georgetown Hospital for an appointment will look a little different than it did at the beginning of the year, including:
• Everyone will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at our entrances
• Waiting rooms and other spaces have been reconfigured to support physical distancing
• Protective barriers such as plexi-glass have been installed
• Appointments have been scheduled to prevent overcrowding and may result in patients being asked to wait outside if they arrive too early.
“It is important that we are conservative in our approach to restarting,” explained Dr. Edgcumbe. “We need to be ready to respond to any resurgence of COVID-19 in our communities.”
Future phases of the restart plan include more complex surgeries requiring a hospital stay, cardiorespiratory medicine appointments, ambulatory care and additional endoscopy capacity.
“This has been an unprecedented and challenging time and I am proud of how our teams are responding to the pandemic. We have received enormous support from our communities and appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to safely resume services,” concluded Ms. Hardenne. For more information visit Halton Healthcare website