Helping Keep You and Our Community Safe
At South Texas Health System Children's, patient safety is always our top priority. Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding the extraordinary measures we are taking during the COVID-19 pandemic to help keep patients, physicians, staff and the community safe.
Q: What steps has the hospital taken to help ensure the ongoing health and safety of patients, their families, staff, associates and the community?
Amidst COVID-19, we are following the guidelines of the State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and our local Infection Control and Prevention team. We have implemented extra precautionary measures and additional safety protocols for our staff, physicians and patients to help ensure a safe and clean environment, including but not limited to:
- Universal masking of all persons entering the hospital
- Isolation of patients with COVID-19
- COVID-19 testing of patients prior to surgery
- Provision of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and caregivers
- Temperature checks
- Screening questionnaires upon entrance
- Limited visitation
- Rigorous cleaning and disinfection
- UV light sterilization
Q: Is it safe to go to the Emergency Department when experiencing a medical emergency?
Yes, the hospital has taken extra measures to help keep everyone safe, including the separation and isolation of any patients suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19. Seeking critical emergency care can be life-saving. Patients experiencing serious injuries or medical symptoms such as chest pain, numbness, difficulty breathing or mental confusion should call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department — it could save your life.
Q: What steps is the hospital taking to encourage appropriate social distancing?
The hospital has marked 6-foot distances within the common areas of the hospital, and requests patients adhere to distancing etiquette.
Q: When will elective (non-essential) surgeries and procedures resume at STHS Children's?
Due to the increase in COVID-19 positive cases in the Rio Grande Valley, your physician or surgeon may recommend postponing your surgery or elective procedure. If you are scheduled for a surgical or elective procedure, please contact your physician or surgeon to discuss the best options for you.
Q: What should a person expect upon arrival to STHS Children's?
All people entering STHS Children's will be temperature checked and asked a series of CDC COVID-19 screening questions. These steps will help prohibit people with symptoms or risk factors from entering the building. Also, given visitation is suspended, patients should plan to be dropped off and picked up after a procedure.
Q: If a patient is required to have a pre-operative clearance visit and pre-admission testing, are virtual options available?
Virtual visits are available for pre-operative clearance only. For information about pre-admission testing including scheduled hours and laboratory locations, please contact your primary care physician office directly.
Q: How far in advance should a patient schedule pre-operative testing?
We recommend that patients plan ahead to ensure all pre-operative testing requirements are completed prior to surgery. Pre-operative testing can be done as far as one week in advance. However, we recommend that tests be done within 72 hours of surgery as lab results can change.
Q: If a patient tests positive for COVID-19 during pre-admission testing, how will their surgery be affected?
A patient testing positive for COVID-19 will be instructed to self-isolate for 14 days. The hospital will re-test the patient prior to scheduling a new surgery date.
Q: With visitation suspended, what should the patient tell the person who will be dropping them off and picking them up after the procedure?
Patients must be dropped off outside the main entrance of the hospital or ambulatory surgery center. The hospital will contact drivers with their anticipated pick-up time, therefore patients are asked to provide their driver's contact information upon arrival on the day of their procedure.
Q: With visitation suspended, how can patients connect with loved ones before and after surgery?
Patients can utilize virtual options such as phone calls, Face Time, Zoom, Skype and other communications on their mobile device before and after surgery.