Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidelines for Triage of Orthopaedic Patients

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease, which now has become a pandemic, continues to challenge the world. According to expert projections, it is estimated that despite social distancing and other measures being practiced, the full impact of coronavirus is yet to be experienced. The growing pandemic might demand for local preparations for the potential increase in Coronavirus infected patients.

he role of orthopaedic surgeons in the scenario is crucial and we intend to furnish guidelines to facilitate the receiving and preparedness of suspected or confirmed virus-infected patients.

What do you mean by Triage?

Triage is determining and classification of patient or casualties to work out the priority of need. Also, it helps in determining the proper place of treatment. During communicable disease outbreaks, triage is especially important.  It is done to separate patients likely to be infected with the pathogen of concern. This triage SOP is developed within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It does not replace any routine clinical triage already in line in healthcare facilities to categorize patients into different urgency categories.

Guidelines for the patients:

According to an orthopaedic doctor in Mumbai, patients need to follow certain guidelines before and upon their arrival to health care facilities. These guidelines would ensure prevention of community spread which are as follows:

  • Inform the medical personnel beforehand; call ahead of time and seek care and instructions for respiratory symptoms
  • Maintain social distancing; stay 6 feet apart from others and avoid interactions with other patients or individuals
  • Wear masks during travel to the healthcare facility and while at the triage, too
  • Notify the triage instructions desk immediately about the noticed symptoms
  • Wash hands after entering into and going out of the healthcare unit with a hand wash, soap or alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing with tissues and dispose of them immediately and safely

Guidelines for Healthcare Facilities:

A Joint replacement specialist in Mumbai and other medical personnel recommend certain guidelines which the healthcare facilities and staff should adhere to. They are as follow:

For the Triage:

  • Establish a sound mechanism so that the patients can notify of their arrival and symptoms and consultation
  • Promote the spread of information to the masses about the hotline and signs and symptoms
  • Develop clear signs and instructions for the patients to follow
  • Keep face masks, hand wash and alcohol-based hand rubs available at the facility all the time
  • Assign an alerted staff to monitor, administer and regulate the patients and ensure that they follow the guidelines

For Health Care Workers:

  • The complete medical staff should follow standard precautions
  • They should be trained and familiar to meet any contingency
  • The staff should wear personal protective equipment all the time, as they are expected to come in contact with the patients
  • Maintain proper hygiene and cleanliness of the healthcare units by disinfecting them consistently and correctly

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