The world has changed significantly since the onset of the COVID pandemic. Fear of contracting this potentially dangerous virus, coupled with travel and personal distancing restrictions set by local, state, and federal government authorities, might have forced you to remain indoors as much as possible.
These circumstances have had a noticeable influence on the world of orthopedic surgery. Even those who could benefit from needed interventions have been hesitant to undergo such procedures, fearing that spending time inside a medical facility might increase their risk of contracting COVID. You may be one of those people.
In recent months, restrictions have eased slightly and necessary surgeries are being given the green light to begin again.
Reasons to Feel Safe at Florida Orthopaedic Institute
The experienced, fellowship-trained, and highly-accomplished orthopedic specialists at Florida Orthopedic Institute want you to know that few places are safer for orthopedic procedures during the COVID crisis than inside our Tampa Bay facilities for the following reasons:
The doctors employed at the Florida Orthopaedic Institute are nationally and internationally recognized specialists with broad and particular knowledge of various orthopedic disciplines, such as the back, neck, spine, knee, shoulder, wrist, and ankle.
Additionally, we can boast of successfully performing countless surgeries that have helped formerly injured patients overcome physical challenges, regain their mobility and return to leading active, productive, and happy lives.
We perform our clinical (examination) work inside 10 locations across Tampa Bay, all conveniently located so that one is right in your neighborhood.
Our surgery centers at North Tampa and Citrus Park offer same-day surgery with the latest cutting-edge medical equipment and surgical devices to allow our physicians to perform the most effective techniques for each case.
Above all, we pride ourselves on the commitment we make to you. Our staff is made up of more than 500 people. In addition to our surgeons, we have a staff of skilled professionals, such as nurses, technicians, therapists, and administrators committed to putting your safety first. They also help make your experience as comfortable as possible and with a goal for you to leave FOI in better shape than when you entered.
Our Emphasis – Safety First
FOI has established numerous COVID protocols geared towards preventing the virus’s spread and keeping you healthy. These efforts include:
Social Distancing Policies
We follow strict social distancing guidelines. The chairs in our waiting rooms and other offices are kept at least six feet apart.
Only Patients are Permitted Inside
Any visitor (or someone considered a non-patient) is required to wait outside the facility.
Face Coverings are Required
Everyone entering FOI’s facilities must wear always wear face coverings. Such safeguards must cover the nose and mouth thoroughly.
Patients, in addition to all other persons arriving on our grounds, are given a temperature check. Those with elevated readings are not permitted to enter.
Before any scheduled procedures, you will be subject to pre-screening. During this process, a member of our staff will ask you various questions to determine if you have experienced any COVID symptoms, have been exposed to the virus secondhand, or traveled to a region deemed a hotspot by health and governmental authorities.
Heightened Infection Prevention Techniques
We understand one crucial key to spread prevention is through the employment of germ-killing techniques. That why we use measures including:
- Cleansing all frequently touched surfaces, including computer keyboards, telephones, toilets, workstations, countertops, and chair handles.
- Removal of unnecessary items.
- Extra cleansing of rooms most frequented, such as offices, waiting rooms, and operating rooms.
Moreover, cleaning duties are performed using only the most potent disinfectants. The products we use are labeled hospital-grade and classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as safe and effective in eliminating COVID.
At FOI, you can communicate with our team of physicians through a process called telehealth. Telehealth enables you to connect with a doctor using a computer or mobile device instead of a face-to-face meeting. In many instances, doctors can diagnose minor issues and offer therapeutic treatment options based on the information you provide.
Adapt as Circumstances Warrant
As incidents of the disease continue to spike and decline, health administrators and government officials will be altering safety regulations. We carefully monitor information provided by important entities, such as the FDA, World Health Organization, WHO, the Centers for Disease Control, CDC, and the Florida Department of Health.
Preparing for Surgery
Orthopedic conditions do not simply disappear because COVID exists. Certain patients may require surgical intervention. However, this crisis mandates that we practice a specific set of guidelines. Here at the FOI, we strictly adhere to the following policies:
Determining Surgical Need
Surgery is typically only performed when necessary. During the COVID pandemic, that philosophy is multiplied many times over. One important spread-prevention method is limiting the number of people out, traveling, or inside a given location at any one time.
We stress performing only necessary surgeries. Necessary is often defined as undertaken to improve someone’s limited mobility or prevent a serious condition from worsening.
Use of Evidence-Based Techniques
Evidence-based surgery follows a set of guidelines based on existing evidence suggesting that these techniques make your surgical experience as safe and effective as possible. Such efforts include:
The Use of Personal Protective Equipment
Doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals involved in performing surgical procedures must wear industry-standard personal protective equipment, also known as PPE. Specific examples of PPE include:
- Respiratory masks.
- Eye protective gear like goggles or face shields.
- Surgical gowns.
- Head coverings.
- Shoe coverings.
Additionally, once PPE has been used during surgery, the materials must be properly accounted for. This might mean placing the items into special laundry containers, individual waste receptacles specifically intended for used PPE or specially designated bags.
Operating room equipment, such as instruments, beds, and diagnostic tools, are intensely cleansed using hospital-grade cleaning agents approved as COVID eliminators by the FDA. Those performing surgical procedures must thoroughly wash their hands using approved cleaning products.
If you have been exposed to the virus within two weeks of a scheduled procedure, it will likely be postponed. Should you become symptomatic, you will be prohibited from entering FOI’s grounds. Also, you should get tested as close to the procedure as possible. Those receiving negative results will be permitted to continue with the procedure.
Limited Recovery Time
Current COVID guidelines governing orthopedic surgery recommend those undergoing in-hospital procedures be released from the hospital as soon as conditions warrant. In some instances, this could be the next day. The determination to send you home will rest on your general health and how well your recovery progresses.
Reaching Out to Us
We realize this is a challenging, confusing, and sometimes a downright frightening time. The last matter you might wish to consider now is orthopedic surgery.