We’re closing in on two years within COVID-19’s bubble. Whether or not you became sick, it impacted nearly every aspect of daily life. Doctors are slowly returning to their normal scope of medical practice, but even that has been changed by the Coronavirus. For outpatient and ambulatory surgery centers like Pacific Surgical Center, 2021 has meant following the latest trends in care and cleanliness.
Industry reports show surgery centers were heavily impacted by COVID-19 but face a strong future. Returning to pre-pandemic levels hinges on one thing: safety. Cleanliness, infection control, sanitizing, and screening patients keep staff, doctors, and visitors safe.
By keeping surgeries on an outpatient basis, PSC limits the total time involved, reducing the likelihood of exposure. They also provide many pre- and post-operative check-ups to minimize the number of return visits. Their physicians use the most advanced surgical equipment and technology to ensure procedures will be fast, comfortable, minimally invasive, and require less recovery time than a surgical procedure performed using older methods and instruments.
Studies show that “due to the pandemic, more patients, payers, and physicians recognize outpatient surgery centers as the most desirable setting for quality care. There’s a real awareness and demand amongst patients as they perceive hospitals as potentially risky. With ASCs, patients get their surgery at a site that studies have shown to be safer and for a third of the price.”
And the cost is increasingly important when deciding whether to have surgery these days. Many jobs and incomes went through months of uncertainty and even though more of the state is reopening, it could take a long time for folks to rebuild their savings. A surgery for non-emergency treatment might be pushed to the back burner, even though it impacts mobility, pain, or overall function.
Because of closures, slow-downs, and backlogs, surgical centers may be running behind schedule. It’s important to keep an open dialog with their health team and your primary care doctor. Be open and upfront about your experience with COVID if you had it. Medical news admits that “As the number of people who have had COVID grows, medical experts are trying to determine when it’s safe for them to have elective surgery. In addition to concerns about respiratory complications from anesthesia, COVID may affect multiple organs and systems, and clinicians are still learning the implications for surgery.”
If you had the Coronavirus, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation recommend waiting four weeks if your symptoms were mild, six if you had symptoms but weren’t hospitalized, 8-10 weeks if you were hospitalized or immunocompromised, and 12 weeks if you spent any time in the intensive care unit.
It will be months—if not years—before we can use the word ‘normal’ about much of daily life. Social distancing and staying home put many surgical needs on hold…but not the pain and immobility they caused. If you haven’t already, reach out to your care team about scheduling surgery today. Waiting too long has its own set of side effects and you don’t want to face another damp, slippery winter without feeling 100%.
Postponing joint surgery especially can do more harm than good. Doctors explain that “when patients are healthy, other than in their joint, they often do much better recovering from surgery. The greatest risk of delaying too long is allowing problems, such as osteoarthritis, to continue wearing down the already ragged joint. Waiting also presents the possibility that the chronic pain will cause you to favor the other leg or hip, resulting in an odd waking gait, placing too much stress on the ‘good’ joint, causing it to deteriorate. Delaying joint replacement can also lead to a weakening of the muscles surrounding the bad joint, making rehabilitation more difficult, leading to the possibility that the patient may never regain full strength.”
When you’re ready, give PSC a call at 360.442.7900. There you can schedule a consultation, request a specialist, or make a financial plan to get back on your feet.