Why patients can feel safe returning to Michigan Medicine

June 2, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership

At Michigan Medicine, safety is the top priority — for employees, patients, families and visitors. That’s why a wide array of precautions and procedures have been put into place over the past few months.

As the organization ramps up services and begins caring for a larger number of non-COVID-19 patients, it’s more important than ever that individuals are aware that campus is safe for them to return.

Here’s a quick rundown of measures Michigan Medicine has taken:

Providing the right care to the right patients

Each patient’s individual circumstances are being evaluated by their provider to determine how soon that patient should return for in-person care or a scheduled procedure, or if their care needs could be handled through E-Visits or Video Visits. Virtual options are considered to be preferential to in-person visits, if at all possible.

For many patients, getting the best care will mean coming to the hospitals or clinics. When they arrive, they will see that all faculty and staff are wearing masks, and patients and visitors are also required to wear a mask and being safely provided one upon entry. Hand sanitizer is also readily available at each entrance and located at stations around the facility.

On top of that, everyone entering a building is screened for COVID-19 symptoms. In terms of testing, a test is performed on all patients admitted to the hospitals, as well as any patient scheduled for surgery, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.

Keeping things clean

As always, sanitation is a major component of infection control — and it’s a top priority at Michigan Medicine. Areas such as waiting rooms, lobbies and restrooms are cleaned often with special attention to frequently touched surfaces including doorknobs, armrests and handrails. Exam rooms are also fully disinfected between each visit.

Reorganization in the age of social distancing

To promote social distancing, furniture has been reorganized and markings have been made on the floor in many areas. This will help keep individuals more than six feet apart.

Waiting rooms are also organized to keep patients with respiratory symptoms separate from patients receiving other types of care. Special arrangements are made for patients being evaluated for COVID-19 or possible COVID-19 to arrive through a specific process and be immediately settled into a private exam room to reduce the chances of other patients being exposed to the virus.

Finally, appointments are being scheduled in such a way that will require fewer patients waiting at any one time.

Changes in action

The recent changes have been noticed — and appreciated — by visitors to the health system. As one visitor explained about their recent trip to Michigan Medicine:

“The biggest thing I noticed what that there were not as many people there … meaning fewer people to navigate between. And what I wanted to tell you is that employees seemed to feel good about what they were doing. The check in area in the lobby was the first impression. I walked by a hand sanitizer stand before even entering the building (they are all over actually). Then I was greeted by a person who handed visitors disposable masks and a bright green sticker with a hand-written date on it. There were extenders in a bowl if you needed them for the face masks. The most important thing that I noticed was all the PPE equipment that the caregivers had. Plenty of disposable gloves, cloth gowns, face masks and basically everything they needed to get through their work day safely. I asked a couple nurses and techs how they felt about their PPE supply and they all said they have plenty of what they need. I just wanted you to know that your battle in the trenches to get these items is offering a level of comfort to everybody.”