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Four National Organizations Provide Guidance on Maintaining Essential Operations as COVID-19 Pandemic Continues:

ACS, AHA, ASA, and AORN develop roadmap for safely managing surgical patients during a time of resurgence


DENVER, August 13, 2020 – The recent resurgence of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has many states near or at bed and intensive care unit (ICU) capacity, and health care facilities’ ability to meet the ongoing needs of surgical patients may be stressed by new influxes of COVID-19 patients admitted to health care facilities.

To ensure health care organizations, physicians, and nurses remain prepared to meet these demands to care for patients who undergo recommended essential operations, the American College of Surgeons (ACS), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and American  Hospital Association (AHA) have developed a Joint Statement: Roadmap for Maintaining Essential Surgery During COVID-19 Pandemic. This joint statement provides a list of principles and considerations to guide physicians, nurses, and hospitals and health systems as they provide essential care to their patients and communities. This joint statement builds on the Joint Statement: Roadmap for Resuming Elective Surgery after COVID-19 Pandemic released by ACS, ASA, AHA, and AORN on April 17, 2020.

The Joint Statement: Roadmap for Maintaining Essential Surgery During COVID-19 Pandemic includes, among other items and considerations, the following principles:

  • Facilities should engage in regional cooperation to address capacity and new patient needs to ensure facilities have appropriate number of intensive care unit (ICU) and non-ICU beds, personal protective equipment (PPE), testing reagents and supplies, ventilators and trained staff to treat all non-elective patients without resorting to a crisis standard of care. Daily forecasting of COVID-19 demand on all resources shall be the baseline for determining the ability to add non-COVID-19 cases.
  • Hospitals, medical professional societies, and government agencies should work together to ensure adequate supplies of vital equipment and medications.
  • Facilities should use available testing to protect staff and patient safety and should implement a policy addressing requirements and frequency for patient and staff testing in accordance with current CDC guidelines.
  • Facilities should not provide non-emergent essential surgical services unless they have adequate PPE and medical surgical supplies appropriate to the number and type of procedures to be performed.
  • Facilities should establish a case prioritization policy committee consisting of surgery, anesthesia and nursing leadership to develop a case prioritization strategy appropriate to the immediate patient needs. 
  • Facilities should adopt policies addressing care issues specific to COVID-19 and the postponement of surgical scheduling.
  • Facilities should reevaluate and reassess policies and procedures frequently, based on COVID-19 related data, resources, testing and other clinical information.
  • Facilities should have and implement a face covering and social distancing policy for staff, patients, and patient visitors in non-restricted areas in the facility which meets current local and national recommendations for community isolation practices.

The joint statement is available here.

ABOUT THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 82,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit www.facs.org.

ABOUT THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 54,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves. For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. For updated information, resources and education related to COVID-19, please visit www.asahq.org/covid19info. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount. Like ASA on Facebook, follow ASALifeline on Twitter.

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION OF PERIOPERATIVE REGISTERED NURSES
The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) supports the professional practice of more than 200,000 perioperative nurses by providing evidence-based research, education, standards, and practice resources—including Guidelines for Perioperative Practice -- to keep health care workers safe and enable optimal outcomes for patients undergoing operative and other invasive procedures. For more information, visit http://www.aorn.org.

ABOUT THE AMERICAN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION
The American Hospital Association (AHA) is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA advocates on behalf of our nearly 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, our clinician partners – including more than 270,000 affiliated physicians, 2 million nurses and other caregivers – and the 43,000 health care leaders who belong to our professional membership groups. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides insight and education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.

TO SPEAK WITH A REPRESENTATIVE, CONTACT:

Sally Garneski
Senior Manager of Public Profile and Visibility
American College of Surgeons
(312) 202-5409
pressinquiry@facs.org

Theresa Hill
Director of Public Relations
American Society of Anesthesiologists
(773) 330-5273
t.hill@asahq.org

Gayle Davis
Director, Corporate Communications
Association of periOperative Registered Nurses
(303) 928-9105
gdavis@aorn.org

Colin Milligan
Director, Media Relations
American Hospital Association
(202) 638-5491
cmilligan@aha.org

 

Joint Statement: Roadmap for Maintaining Essential Surgery During COVID-19 Pandemic

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