Time-Sensitive Care FAQs

In alignment with guidance from Governor Mills and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MaineHealth is resuming time-sensitive services across our health system. If you have a chronic condition or serious illness, it is important to see your doctor and continue with recommended procedures and surgeries. Postponing care could result in serious complications.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about time-sensitive care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

How has MaineHealth determined that it is now safe to begin scheduling surgeries and procedures?

During our COVID pandemic response period, MaineHealth hospitals have continued to perform essential surgeries and procedures when delay could cause harm to the patient. Our medical and surgical teams are following strict safety measures to prevent patient exposure to COVID-19, and we have not had any documented in-hospital transmission of the virus. We are now moving forward with time-sensitive surgeries and procedures that were postponed, knowing that our patients will benefit from getting this needed care, and that we can do so safely.

Will I be safe if the hospital is treating proven or suspected COVID-19 patients?

Our infection prevention practices and protocols are designed to protect all care team members, patients and visitors. Everyone entering our hospitals and clinics, including employees and visitors, will be screened for symptoms and known high-risk exposures. Everyone will be offered a mask to wear to prevent spread of infection to others. Additionally, across the MaineHealth system, we have rooms that can be used to safely isolate and care for patients with COVID-19.

How does COVID-19 affect my recovery from surgery?

We want to perform your surgery or procedure in the safest possible circumstances.

Before your appointment, a care team members will contact you to ask you about possible symptoms of COVID-19 to ensure that we do not perform any surgery or procedure while you are sick.

Even if they do not have any symptoms, some patients will be tested for COVID-19 before their scheduled procedure. This helps us remain confident that patients are unlikely to undergo surgery with possible coronavirus infection present. We are doing this as a precautionary measure so that we have all of the information we need to provide you with an ideal care experience and to support a smooth recovery.

Please let us know if you have had close (such as a household member or caregiver) exposure to someone who is known or suspected to have COVID-19. We may need to adjust our plans for your safety.

Can my family or friends come to the hospital on the day of surgery, or to visit me in general?

MaineHealth care teams are working around the clock to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and to ensure excellent patient care as well as family and visitor safety.

As a precautionary measure we have restricted visitors in all of our hospital and outpatient facilities until the spread of COVID-19 is no longer a threat. Currently, patients are not allowed to have visitors while in the hospital. However, there a certain exceptions to this visitor policy:

  • Pediatrics: one parent/guardian at a time
  • Obstetrics: one spouse/coach allowed in labor and delivery area
  • Day Surgery: one person involved in care
  • Patient Discharges: one person allowed for the purpose of picking up a patient for discharge
  • Practice and Outpatient Procedural Areas: One person allowed as an escort, only if the patient requires their help with mobility, support or communication with care team, such necessity to be determined by triage or care providers. Escorts will be encouraged to drop-off patients when possible.

For these exceptions the visitor must be 18 years or older.

Staying Connected

To help our patients stay connected with family and friends, we are providing iPads and access to the video chat app, Zoom at MaineHealth hospitals. Through those iPads, our patients have spent almost 130 hours chatting with their friends and family during April!

Does the current COVID-19 situation change my length of stay after my surgery or procedure?

No. Our goal is to keep you in the hospital until your health is strong enough for you to leave safely. Your clinical team will work with you to anticipate any post-surgical or post-procedural needs such as:

  • A ride home
  • Support during your recovery
  • A place to go to after your procedure

If you have any issues or concerns that could get in the way of a smooth transition out of the hospital after your procedure, please talk to your care team about them before coming to the hospital.

Does surgery make me more likely to get COVID-19?

No, having surgery or a procedure does not increase your chances of being infected with COVID-19. We follow strict infection prevention practices and protocols designed to protect our patients and care team members.

Everyone entering our hospitals and clinics, including employees and visitors, will be screened for symptoms and known high-risk exposures. Everyone will be offered a mask to wear to prevent spread of infection to others. Patients who are known to be infected with COVID-19 are kept in special isolation areas to protect other patients, providers and staff.

Can I postpone my surgery until the COVID-19 crisis is over?

With any planned surgery or procedure, we must weigh the risk of delay with the benefit of moving forward. In some situations, it may not be safe to further delay time-sensitive care. Additionally, we expect to be affected by COVID-19 for many months to come.

MaineHealth has expertise in caring for patients with complex health conditions, and in infection prevention and control. Your care team is working hard to assess whether your surgery can be safely postponed. If they have contacted you to schedule your surgery, they believe that the benefits of moving forward with your surgery outweigh the risks of coming to the hospital.

If you are wondering if your surgery can be postponed until after the COVID-19 outbreak is over, talk to your surgeon or another care team member about your concerns. Clear and direct communication is an important part of our patient safety plan.

Latest News

View All