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Business Journal Article: Inland & SVH Dedicated to Safe Care

Date: 11/09/2020

This article was recently published in the Business Journal/Morning Sentinel.

At Northern Light Inland Hospital in Waterville and Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield, we’ve always been here to care for our communities. COVID-19 has changed many parts of our lives and many people put their healthcare on hold over the spring and summer. Some people explored new options like telehealth that provided an important connection to care from the comfort of home.

“We want our communities to know that it is safe for you to access the care you need now,” says Terri Vieira, president of both hospitals. “Whether it’s emergency care or routine care such as visiting your primary care provider, having lab work or annual procedures like mammograms and colonoscopies – please do not delay care.” Vieira emphasized that some health conditions can worsen if care is delayed.

“Our goal has always been to make healthcare work for our community, and we have made changes during these challenging times to be sure we are providing the safest care possible, in the safest environment possible – for patients and our staff.” Vieira praised Inland and Sebasticook staffs for their dedication to safe care, noting that, “staff come in every day to care for and serve patients – it’s their passion and we are so fortunate.”

Ways Northern Light Health is Keeping Patients Safe

  • CDC Guidelines: We follow CDC guidelines to ensure patient and staff safety, and our infection prevention teams work closely with the Maine CDC.
  • Masking:  Masks or other personal protective equipment are worn by all caregivers and doctors. We’re also requiring that all patients and visitors wear masks or face coverings upon entering a Northern Light Health facility.
  • Hand Sanitation: We continue to wash our hands and use hand sanitizer frequently and encourage patients and visitors to do the same.
  • Screening: Pre-screening happens before entering any of our facilities, with temperature checks and a series of symptom check questions. We have introduced a new online Symptom Checker tool for the public that can be used to help people move through the screening process a little quicker. The tool asks the screening questions and gives a green or red screen to show the screener. Find the new tool at covid.northernlighthealth.org/covidcheck#.
  • COVID-19 Patient Care: Patients with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms are treated by dedicated staff in designated areas. Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn by staff to keep everyone safe.
  • COVID-19 Testing: Inland Hospital and Sebasticook Valley Hospital have locations dedicated to drive up testing. Ask your provider for more information about whether testing is appropriate for you or visit northernlighthhealth.org for resources and information about testing.
  • Cleaning/Disinfecting: All spaces are cleaned and sanitized per strict Northern Light Health medical standards. Our Environmental Services teams have always used checklists to ensure all areas are cleaned thoroughly. We disinfect every exam room and patient care area after each patient visit.
  • Reception Areas: Reception areas may look a little different. In many areas, we’ve placed six-foot stickers on the floor to remind people to maintain safe distancing, and we’ve installed plexiglass barriers in locations where patients and visitors may encounter staff.
  • Visitation Policy: We’ve had to restrict visitors because of the spread of COVID-19. This is hard because visitors have always been an important part of our patient care. We have very specific guidelines on which patients can have visitors and how many they can have. Our healthcare team can share more information about visitation restrictions.
  • Expanded telehealth services: A tool we’ve used for years to meet patient needs from home using a phone, tablet, or computer, telehealth appointments are available to meet more needs than ever.
  • Online services/Patient Portal (myNorthernLightHealth.org): Our patient portal offers more convenient services that patients can access from home, right at their fingertips. Patients can manage their appointments online; request prescription refills; send secure messages to their healthcare team; view and print details of their health record, such as: lab results, medications, allergies, immunizations, etc.; connect their electronic health record with third party wellness apps if desired. Patients of Northern Light Health can contact their primary care office for an invite to join the portal.

You can learn more about our promise of safety, access valuable resources about COVID-19 care and testing, and much more on our websites: northernlighthealth.org/Inland-Hospital and northernlighthealth.org/Sebasticook-Valley-Hospital.