COLORADO SPRINGS — As Colorado sees a rise in the numbers of COVID-19 cases across the state, UCHealth continues to keep measures in place to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and health care workers. Although still at a very manageable and safe level, UCHealth’s current number of almost 70 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infections is more than double the number of hospitalized patients just two weeks ago.
It’s as important as ever that patients should not let the pandemic stand in the way of getting critical or even routine care needed in a hospital or clinic – and UCHealth is open, safe and ready to help. This spring, UCHealth redesigned many aspects of safety and cleanliness to ensure patients receive care in a safe setting that minimizes the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for everyone, from the moment a patient or visitor drives up to a UCHealth location and utilizes the valet to when they check-in for their appointment.
Even prior to COVID-19 arriving in Colorado, UCHealth leaders examined how things were done in the past regarding cleaning and protection measures and modified processes in anticipation of the pandemic. Behind the scenes during the COVID-19 pandemic, teams from all 12 hospitals met multiple times each week to consider every aspect of patient safety and concern, as well as CDC guidelines.
This begins with valet when patients drive up to the hospital for appointments.
“These are things that may seem small, but we think are really impactful. Our valet team places a steering wheel cover on each vehicle. Our valet team members all wear a mask and gloves and actually switch out their gloves between each vehicle and customer interaction. Additionally, instead of requiring you to take a ticket, which requires a lot of physical interaction, we are offering something called ‘text to request’,” said Rob Portwood, vice president of support services for UCHealth. “And, vehicle keys are actually going to be disinfected by our team before they are returned.”
Every detail is considered, from door handles, railings and doors themselves, to pens, tablets and check-in areas, and anything in the cafeterias being touched much more frequently than before. UCHealth teams even re-engineered how they clean wheelchairs, knowing that guests and visitors use them as well as staff members. Each wheelchair is thoroughly cleaned, and then similar to a hotel, where a room is marked as cleaned on the door knob, team members use a hanger to indicate it has been cleaned.
In waiting areas, Clorox sprayers, called T360 sprayers, are used. The handheld spraying machine is filled with a solution for disinfecting that is typically done after hours when patients and visitors aren’t in the areas. Surgical waiting areas, hallways, and cafeterias are cleaned with this process, which is 60 percent more efficient in cleaning the area, and with fewer chemicals.
“We're being very purposeful on that and have trained our teams at almost a higher level of how they can clean and what could be done differently,” said Portwood.
These cleaning techniques are in addition to the numerous other measures being taken to protect patients, visitors and staff members including requiring everyone to wear masks, screening all for temperatures or symptoms of COVID-19, and taking steps to reduce the number of people inside facilities and require physical distancing.
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