To help reassure the community that the hospital is a safe place to receive treatment for any type of aliments, injury or disease, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Waxahachie has launched its Safe Care Program. With Safe Care, the hospital is taking new preventive measures and innovative approaches to treatment to keep patients, visitors and staff members safe.
Hospital President Will Turner said there is a multi-stage approach built into the Safe Care Program that begins with testing for COVID-19.
“We are effectively testing everyone with symptoms now,” he said. “Everyone that comes in for a surgical or procedural event gets a COVID screening. They are screened for symptoms and tested. We take patient swabs through our clinics. So, we are doing all of that testing before people come into the facility.
“We also have a virtual waiting room,” he said. “If people are coming in for surgery or a procedure or even the emergency department, their guests are able to check in on them and wait in their car.”
The virtual waiting rooms allows clinic patients and loved ones of hospital or surgery center patients to receive updates about their care via calls and text messaging. Virtual care options are provided to patients before and after surgeries and procedures when appropriate, simplifying the experience.
“Our clinics have converted a lot of what they did to virtual care,” he said. “The Baylor Scott & White app has been a big tool. It has been used over 100,000 times. We offered free COVID screenings so you can go over your potential exposures and then cascade down to an e-visit or a recommendation for treatment.
“All of our team members, visitors and patients are wearing masks in the facility (and) we have enhanced cleaning and touch free protocols,” he said. “For example, you can register for your hospital stay over the phone or tablet so you’re not having to touch papers and things like that. All visitors are screened for temperatures and symptoms and are given a mask as they enter the facility.”
If a person does get diagnosed with COVID-19 virus, hospital staff can monitor his or her condition through the Baylor Scott & White app by having them submit their temperatures twice a day along with reporting symptoms, so they are not escalating. There are also resources through the app if a person has questions or needs further assistance.
Turner said he wants to assure the public that the hospital is a safe place to get their health care needs addressed and taken care of promptly. Delaying care in a critical situation can make the problem worse for the patient and physicians providing treatment.
“I have spoken a lot about this with local community leaders and you have seen on the national news where patients with chest pains did not come to the hospital for fear that they might get the virus,” Turner said. “The heart attack that you are having is much more concerning for your immediate future than the virus might be.”
Turner said the Waxahachie campus is here for essential, critical and needed care, noting that a delay in providing care like cancer screenings and surgeries would have a much more significant effect than potentially that of the COVID-19 virus.
The hospital has plenty of personal protection equipment and supplies for all of its team and has been able to secure a source for continuous supply, Turner said, noting the hospital “is in a very good place right now” and is ready to continue serving the community.
During the past two months, the hospital has continued to receive support from the community, with Turner saying the support shown to the staff has been much needed and appreciated.
“That is one of the things that I would brag on the most,” he said. “We have had such tremendous support and it started with The Oaks Church in Red Oak and a number of other community businesses coming to our aid and donating masks and gowns. We had over 30,000 surgical masks that were donated to us. So that was tremendously helpful.
“We have had donations of food to help feed our team to say thank you from local businesses, local restaurants and supporters of all kinds,” he said. “State Rep. John Wray and his wife Michele helped to feed our team in our emergency department one day. The Ellis County sheriff did a drive-through thank you and there was a community prayer parade.
“We also got a big packet of thank you notes from the residents at Daymark Living,” Turner said. “It just warms our heat that our team has so much support from the community.”
For more information about the Safe Care program, visit www.bswhealth.com/Pages/coronavirus-information.aspx.