Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital Highlights Actions for Phased Reopening of Services
Following the announcement by Governor Janet Mills that Maine will take a phased approach to reopening certain business operations on May 1, Northern Light Sebasticook Valley Hospital is joining other Northern Light Health facilities across the state in taking steps to prepare for the phased launch of critical services delayed by COVID-19.
“We will begin scheduling services based on criteria that supports needs and our ability to do so safely,” said Terri Vieira, president of Sebasticook Valley Hospital. “We are being very thoughtful and moving forward with caution as we focus on safety, while recognizing there is a pent-up demand for services. This transition will take time; we won’t resume all services all at once. Some of the first services that we are working to make available include primary care visits, and we are working to finalize plans for resuming surgeries and diagnostic procedures like mammograms and colonoscopies.”
According to Bob Schlager, MD, Sebasticook’s vice president of medical affairs, “Meeting the urgent needs of our community through the pandemic has been our priority, and now we can gradually move to reopen services that were delayed due to COVID. We will start with care that is medically necessary and time sensitive. Our telehealth service has been very popular for people to get care from the comfort of home and it’s been a great way to stay connected to our patients. There is no doubt that telehealth will be a regular part of how we deliver care.”
As Northern Light Health hospitals prepare to open additional services, some of the steps that are being taken to ensure a safe care environment for patients include:
- Separate COVID-19 screening and assessment site: To provide the safest care to all patients, we have established a separate location for COVID-19 assessments. Our Screening Hotline (844-489-1822) is a valuable resource for the community to call for screening and testing locations and schedules. Telehealth appointments are also being offered to patients with respiratory concerns. Ensuring there are offsite and virtual options for COVID-19 care, medical practices can continue to provide care to patients in the safest environment possible.
Screening process at all facilities: Everyone who enters our facilities (hospital and practices) will be screened for symptoms. As an added layer of protection, temperature checks are being conducted during the screening process. Those who answer positively to a screening question or have an elevated temperature will be directed away from the facility and referred to the appropriate level of care.
- Universal masking and physical distancing: All Northern Light Health employees—clinical and non-clinical—are required to wear a face mask at all times while at work. Patients and visitors are also required to wear a face covering. Face coverings are not medical devices, but cloth masks, scarves, or bandanas worn over the nose and mouth to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Patients without a face covering will be provided a mask during the screening process to wear while within our facilities. Additionally, patients will be asked to maintain physical distancing. The layout of waiting areas will be adjusted to accommodate physical distancing. Check-in and registration processes may change and patients could be asked to wait in their car for staff to call them in for their appointment in order to avoid waiting in groups.
Visitor policy: No visitors are allowed at Northern Light Health hospitals and other facilities, including primary care and specialty care centers, with limited exceptions.
- Care at home through telehealth: From primary care to specialty care, telehealth visits are a convenient way for patients to get the care and guidance they need without leaving home.