Make plans to get back to better health

| September 23, 2020 1:00 AM

“What did you do for your summer vacation?” 

This is a perfectly normal question for teachers to ask their students this time of year. For most of us, our plans changed due to COVID-19. While putting vacation plans on hold was disappointing, it was a responsible measure to take in light of the global pandemic, and caused no harm. Putting your medical care on hold is another story.

A recent study from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that four in 10 U.S. adults (41%) delayed or avoided medical care due to concerns about COVID-19. It stands to reason that people are worried about staying safe during this pandemic. However, by delaying regular doctor visits, or preventative care, people could be putting themselves at risk. In some cases, patients have delayed or omitted trips to the Emergency Department and suffered poor outcomes due to that decision.

Healthcare providers do not want to put the community at risk of getting COVID-19, nor to risk any further harm by avoiding medical care out of fear. Here at North Valley Hospital, as well as clinics community-wide, safety measures are in place to mitigate risks from acquiring COVID-19 during patient visits. In fact, visiting a healthcare facility may be one of the safer places to be, thanks to the extent of safety measures that are in place.

Unlike many of the places we visit in the community, everyone who enters a healthcare facility, patients and employees, are screened. A screener employed by North Valley Hospital will ask you questions and take your temperature. Allow extra time prior to your appointment for the screening. If someone is ahead of you being screened, please give them appropriate distance. 

Because access is limited, inquire if you are allowed to bring someone along before going to an appointment. If visitors are allowed, they too will be screened. All individuals entering facilities will be required to wear face covering, or other proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Wear your mask throughout your visit, unless instructed by your provider to remove it.

In some cases patients seeking healthcare may be able to receive it in the safety, privacy and comfort of their own home with telemedicine. Telemedicine or Telehealth is the remote treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology. Ask your healthcare provider if this is available to you. For many people this is a less intimidating way to receive healthcare, as well as being more convenient in situations where travel is difficult. It also means you can meet with a healthcare professional without having to wear a mask. 

In addition to your healthcare visits, you may need to receive necessary prescriptions as part of your treatment. You can minimize your risk of exposure by taking advantage of drive-up windows, or calling ahead for curbside delivery. Some prescriptions also may be able to be sent in the mail, be sure to ask your healthcare provider or insurance company what is available.

As we transition from summer to fall, it is time to get back to our health. Keep up on preventative care including vaccinations, and seek emergency care when needed. Continue to wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands often. Make plans to Take care of your health now so you can make plans for summer vacations in the future.

Riley Polumbus is the Marketing and Community Relations Manager at North Valley Hospital.