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Published on June 26, 2020

Wayne UNC Surgery Room

Surgery during a Pandemic: What You Need to Know

At the height of COVID-19 closures, Wayne UNC Health Care – like hospitals across the country – took steps to delay certain elective surgical procedures. Now, as many parts of our state continue to safely reopen, our team is beginning to reschedule procedures for those patients with the greatest need.

If you have a surgical procedure in your future, you may be wondering whether now is even the time for elective surgery. We asked Wayne UNC Director of Perianesthesia, Catherine Hedrick, RN, BSN to weigh in on the types of procedures our Surgical Team is currently performing and steps we are taking to provide the best care to all patients throughout the pandemic.

Is now a good time for me to have surgery?

Anxiety over COVID-19 is completely understandable, and we do encounter patients who are nervous about coming to the hospital. For many patients, their worries diminish when they learn about all the extra measures we are taking to provide safe, quality care to all patients. Talk to your provider and care team to help you determine what works best for you.

If you experience a medical emergency, don’t wait to get care. Call 9-1-1 or visit the Emergency Department right away.

What are the types of surgeries Wayne UNC is performing now?

We are performing all surgeries, except for elective procedures that could safely be delayed with no harm to the patient.

My procedure was delayed. When will it be rescheduled?

Wayne UNC will only delay your elective surgery if it can safely be delayed whether that is due to a positive COVID result or positive screening questions. If we delay your procedure for a positive COVID result, we will reschedule once you are outside of the infectious window, ensuring you are asymptomatic for a minimum of three days. If we delay your procedure due to positive screening questions, it will be delayed until you receive a negative result on a test/swab.

If your surgery was cancelled or delayed, your surgeon’s office should reach out to reschedule the procedure and schedule your follow-up appointment.

What are you doing to keep me safe during my surgery?

  • Everyone wears a mask and performs frequent hand hygiene, including all teammates, visitors and patients.
  • We clean all surfaces in every room thoroughly between each patient.
  • Patients and visitors are kept 6-feet apart.

What kind of screening and other preparation should I expect ahead of my surgery?

For elective/outpatient surgery, we will test/swab you three days before your procedure. The day before your surgery, we will call you to ask additional screening questions.

When you arrive, you will register and go to a dedicated surgery waiting room. We have hand sanitizer and masks for patients and visitors, and the chairs and surfaces in the waiting room have been spread apart and are frequently cleaned.

Can I have visitors after my surgery?

Our visitor policy allows patients one visitor to stay and wait during your procedure.  We understand the importance of connection with family and friends following surgery, and we will work to connect you virtually over Facetime or other conferencing apps if necessary.

What precautions should I take when I’m released home from the hospital?

It’s important to wear a face covering when you’re around others and continue to adhere to social distancing and hand hygiene practices. Avoid touching your face, mucous membranes (eyes and nose) and the surgical area as much as possible. And, make sure to follow your instructions for wound care.

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What To Do If You Have COVID-19 Symptoms?

If you are concerned you have been exposed or have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), click the purple Coronavirus Help tab on the bottom of unchealthcare.org

This will bring up our coronavirus symptom checker that will lead you through some questions to determine if you need medical follow-up. You can also call your primary care provider.

Do not go to your doctor’s office or an urgent care without first determining if further medical screening is necessary.

If you are having difficulty breathing, call 911 or seek immediate treatment.