VA announces safeguards to protect patients


Staff Report



Chillicothe – While the Centers for Disease Control still considers COVID-19 to be a low threat to the general American public, Chillicothe VA Medical Center and its Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) are paying special attention to it.

As part of this process, everyone who enters the campuses will be pre-screened. This may lengthen entry times, so patients are advised to allow for that when arriving for their appointments. At the Chillicothe campus, all traffic is to enter through the South Entrance and follow traffic signs to the screening locations along Cleveland Avenue. Patients entering the CBOCs will be screened at the door prior to admission into the facility.

The screening consists of three questions:

· Do you have a fever or worsening cough or shortness of breath or flu-like symptoms?

· Have you or a close contact traveled to an area with widespread or sustained community transmission of COVID-19 within 14 days of symptom onset?

· Have you been in close contact with someone, including health care workers, confirmed to have COVID-19?

Per Centers for Disease Control guidance and VA protocols, Veterans and visitors known to be at risk for a COVID-19 infection are immediately isolated to prevent potential spread to others.

Take everyday preventive actions to avoid being exposed to the virus:

· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

· Stay home if you are sick or becoming sick.

· Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

If you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms, call your healthcare provider. All Veterans are asked to call the VA, 740-773-1141, extension 5575, before arriving at their appointment.

VA’s visitor guidance:

· VA Community Living Centers (CLCs) have adopted a “No Visitor” stance, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center 17273 State Route 104 Chillicothe, Ohio 45601-9718

meaning no outside visitors will be permitted to see residents.

o The only exceptions will be in compassionate cases, when Veterans are in their last stages of life on hospice units.

o In those cases, visitors will be limited to a specific Veteran’s room only.

· CLCs have suspended new admissions.

o VA CLC staff will evaluate resident transfer requests from VA medical facilities on a case-by-case basis.

· CLC staff are actively screened daily and dedicated to working at Community Living Centers.

The VA is also limiting guests in the outpatient and acute care areas.

· Like the CLCs, Acute Care areas have adopted a “No Visitor” stance, meaning no outside visitors will be permitted on the units.

· Visitors accompanying patients to outpatient appointments will be limited to those providing essential support.

· Children under the age of 18 are not permitted

See the following press release for further information safeguards taken to protect nursing home and spinal cord injury patients: https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5400

More information for Veterans is here: https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/72615/vas-recommendations-help-slow-covid-19-virus/

For more information about the Coronavirus, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Staff Report