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COVID-19 Information

Dear Patients

General Information

SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, with 40%-70% of the planet’s population predicted to acquire the infection. The infection is mild in more than 85% of cases, with approximately only 15% of patients requiring hospitalisation and a maximum of 5% requiring an ICU admission. As a patient seeking healthcare and requiring surgery during this pandemic, it is essential that you understand how to best protect yourselves during the time surrounding your proposed surgery. It is important to understand that you may not display symptoms despite being actively infected with Covid-19, that you may become infected in the period immediately preceding your surgery or in the period immediately after your surgery, and that even with testing, you may be unaware of this infection as you may test negative for Covid-19. There is however evidence now to show that patients who have had surgery and are either infected with Covid-19 at the time of surgery or who acquire this immediately after surgery suffer from a far more severe form of the infection than they may have experienced, had they not had their surgery. Because of this increased risk to you, it is necessary for you to be informed and make the best and most appropriate decision regarding the timing of your surgery. You should ideally self-isolate at home for at least a week before your proposed surgery date and you will also be asked to sign an additional Covid-19 Consent Form. Please follow the guidance on this form with respect to the careful monitoring of yourself at home after surgery and the reporting of any concerning symptoms immediately to your doctors. Please also remember that surgery, during this time especially, is a “family affair” as your family should employ social distancing and allow you to safely isolate yourself for at least a week after surgery and on returning home, so as to try to avoid being infected with Covid-19 during this critical phase of your recovery.

General Information

SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, with 40%-70% of the planet’s population predicted to acquire the infection. The infection is mild in more than 85% of cases, with approximately only 15% of patients requiring hospitalisation and a maximum of 5% requiring an ICU admission. As a patient seeking healthcare and requiring surgery during this pandemic, it is essential that you understand how to best protect yourselves during the time surrounding your proposed surgery. It is important to understand that you may not display symptoms despite being actively infected with Covid-19, that you may become infected in the period immediately preceding your surgery or in the period immediately after your surgery, and that even with testing, you may be unaware of this infection as you may test negative for Covid-19. There is however evidence now to show that patients who have had surgery and are either infected with Covid-19 at the time of surgery or who acquire this immediately after surgery suffer from a far more severe form of the infection than they may have experienced, had they not had their surgery. Because of this increased risk to you, it is necessary for you to be informed and make the best and most appropriate decision regarding the timing of your surgery. You should ideally self-isolate at home for at least a week before your proposed surgery date and you will also be asked to sign an additional Covid-19 Consent Form. Please follow the guidance on this form with respect to the careful monitoring of yourself at home after surgery and the reporting of any concerning symptoms immediately to your doctors. Please also remember that surgery, during this time especially, is a “family affair” as your family should employ social distancing and allow you to safely isolate yourself for at least a week after surgery and on returning home, so as to try to avoid being infected with Covid-19 during this critical phase of your recovery.

Pre-operative Testing

Regarding testing, you may be asked to have a Covid-19 nasopharyngeal swab test performed before you come for your surgery. Although up to 40% of these may not be able to detect the virus even if you are infected, for a number of reasons, it is necessary to screen you to at least pick up those infected patients who do test positive so as to protect them and their fellow patients and staff from cross-infection in hospital. It is essential that you have this test performed ideally no more than 72 hours before your surgery date. Because of the possibility that not all positive cases will be detected, you will still be required to wear a mask during your entire stay and unfortunately no visitors or family may accompany you to hospital (this excludes paediatric patients – please see below). I will liaise with your family during your surgery if you wish, and keep them up to date as to our finishing time and your wellbeing. The hospital staff will also be required to have intermittent Covid-19 testing performed for their own screening purposes and so as to best protect you.

Hospital Infection Prevention Protocols:

Each hospital or clinic facility will be employing their own infection prevention measures. In order to best prepare yourselves and your loved ones for this process, please ensure that you have contact with the hospital in advance, wherever possible, so as to ensure that you know where to park, where to enter the building and which ward to be admitted to. You will have your temperature taken, be required to wear a mask, complete a screening questionnaire and sanitise your hands at most entry points to the hospital and its wards. Please remember to bring as few belongings with you as possible, wear your cloth mask or 3 layered surgical mask at all times, ideally bring your own pen to use for the questionnaires and wear the screening sticker that most facilities provide you with after access has been granted. The staff, doctors and nurses will all be wearing masks and then a variety of personal protective equipment from gloves and gowns to full respirators, visors and goggles. This may be very daunting, especially for paediatrics. Wherever possible, please prepare your loved ones for this by warning them that behind every mask and gown is a healthcare worker who is keeping your loved one and you safe from the virus as best as they can, who has the nation’s best interests at heart, and who feels just as tired and stuffy underneath it all as I am sure you do too!

Paediatrics

As a mom of two myself, I am aware that this is a particularly scary time for little ones and is unfortunately made worse if they require surgery and a hospital admission. Please try to prepare them for the process by talking about all the protective equipment, the temperature screening, sanitisers, and by letting them ask as many questions as they may need to in order to try to process their anxiety. I have attached a photograph below so they can see what to expect from me if I am in full PPE, but I do add some sparkly and fun stickers to my visor and will try as best as possible to create a more paeds-friendly space for them in theatre. One parent or guardian will still be able to accompany them to theatre for their induction of anaesthesia but will be required to wear a mask at all times and follow the hospital’s infection control policies. If you should have any related questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me prior to surgery.

Hospital Infection Prevention Protocols:

Each hospital or clinic facility will be employing their own infection prevention measures. In order to best prepare yourselves and your loved ones for this process, please ensure that you have contact with the hospital in advance, wherever possible, so as to ensure that you know where to park, where to enter the building and which ward to be admitted to. You will have your temperature taken, be required to wear a mask, complete a screening questionnaire and sanitise your hands at most entry points to the hospital and its wards. Please remember to bring as few belongings with you as possible, wear your cloth mask or 3 layered surgical mask at all times, ideally bring your own pen to use for the questionnaires and wear the screening sticker that most facilities provide you with after access has been granted. The staff, doctors and nurses will all be wearing masks and then a variety of personal protective equipment from gloves and gowns to full respirators, visors and goggles. This may be very daunting, especially for paediatrics. Wherever possible, please prepare your loved ones for this by warning them that behind every mask and gown is a healthcare worker who is keeping your loved one and you safe from the virus as best as they can, who has the nation’s best interests at heart, and who feels just as tired and stuffy underneath it all as I am sure you do too!

Paediatrics

As a mom of two myself, I am aware that this is a particularly scary time for little ones and is unfortunately made worse if they require surgery and a hospital admission. Please try to prepare them for the process by talking about all the protective equipment, the temperature screening, sanitisers, and by letting them ask as many questions as they may need to in order to try to process their anxiety. I have attached a photograph below so they can see what to expect from me if I am in full PPE, but I do add some sparkly and fun stickers to my visor and will try as best as possible to create a more paeds-friendly space for them in theatre. One parent or guardian will still be able to accompany them to theatre for their induction of anaesthesia but will be required to wear a mask at all times and follow the hospital’s infection control policies. If you should have any related questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me prior to surgery.

Thank you in advance for your patience with the process, your respect for the all the various infection control measures and for your vigilant efforts to try to protect yourself from Covid-19 infection before and after your surgery.

Be safe, stay healthy and I look forward to seeing you in theatre, masked and all!

Kind regards
Caroline Corbett

Dr Caroline Corbett PPE

Useful Links

National Institute for Communicable Diseases
SASA Covid-19

PHONE Dr Caroline Corbett