Starting out

TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR

Think of your doctor as a guide for your journey. That’s why it’s important to speak with your doctor directly, no matter why you are seeking care. Your doctor can listen to your concerns, provide answers, and explain your care options. You don’t have to make these decisions alone. To prepare for your journey, find out what to expect for three of the most common healthcare journeys.

PREVENTIVE SCREENING

When you arrive, you may be screened for COVID-19 or its symptoms with a temperature check and/or a lab test.1,2,4

SOCIAL DISTANCING

The reception and waiting area may be rearranged to ensure physical distancing for patients and staff.2

WAIT IN YOUR CAR

You may be asked to wait in your car until the doctor is ready to see you.3

NEW FACES

Reassignments, alternating schedules, and workload sharing may mean you see different staff than you normally would.2

LONGER HOURS

Clinics may extend their daily schedule earlier or later so there is more time in between patient appointments.2

TRAVELING SOLO

Clinics may request you not bring anyone with you to your visit. This does not apply, of course, if you are the parent of a sick child or a caregiver for a vulnerable adult.2

MASKS FOR PROTECTION

You may be asked to wear a cloth face covering. Staff will likely wear facemasks at all times. If you don’t have a face covering, your doctor may be able to provide one.2

EMPTY ROOMS

Exam rooms will be likely be free of magazines, pamphlets and other items for easier cleaning.3

REMOTE FOLLOW-UP

Your follow-up visit may be done from your home through a telehealth platform.3

REMOTE PAPERWORK

You may be able to complete pre-surgery forms online prior to your visit. The pre-op nursing team may record your medical history before the visit by phone or online.3

BE PREPARED

Your doctor may ask you to self-quarantine as much as possible in the weeks leading up to your procedure.3

DIFFERENT DOORS

You may be asked to enter or exit through specific doors.4

SPECIAL RESERVATIONS

Some surgery centers will use separate operating rooms to treat COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.3

REMOTE FOLLOW-UP

Your follow-up visit may be conducted at home through a telehealth platform.3

TAKE A DETOUR

Some hospitals may be dedicated to treating patients affected by COVID-19, so you may be asked to visit a location in a less affected area.

TAKE ANOTHER DETOUR

In order to keep COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients separate, the hospital you visit may have a designated Non-COVID Care (NCC) zone, such as a separate building or certain rooms or floors with a separate entrance. In an NCC, you may be screened with a temperature check or lab test. All staff in the NCC will be screened and tested regularly too.4

PROCEDURAL PRECAUTIONS

Some common procedures involving the respiratory system will be performed with even greater precautions than normal, including staff wearing N95 masks and face shields.4

MASKS AND MORE

Depending on the procedure, your doctor and other staff may wear special protective equipment to keep you and the staff safe.3

FREQUENT CLEANING

You may notice that your hospital room, hallways, and other common areas are cleaned and disinfected more often than previously. This helps maintain sanitation throughout the hospital.3,4

FEWER VISITORS

If you are admitted, expect the number of visitors and visiting hours to be restricted. It is very possible no visitors will be allowed for any reason.4

REMOTE FOLLOW-UP

Your follow-up visit may be done in your home through a telehealth platform.3

SIDE TRIPS

REMOTE CARE

You may be able to receive care without a face-to-face office visit. After asking about your specific situation, your doctor may recommend:

  • Telehealth — Visiting with your doctor remotely by phone, chat, or videoconference.
  • Curbside or Drive-Through — Getting a test or preventive screening without leaving your vehicle.
  • Pharmacy Delivery — Having necessary prescriptions delivered directly to your home.
  • Home Healthcare — Seeing a healthcare provider in your own home.
  1. World Health Organization. Maintaining essential health services: operational guidance for the COVID-19 context. Interim guidance. 1 June 2020.
  2. A Physician Practice Guide to Reopening. American Medical Association. Updated May 1, 2020.
  3. Future of Otolaryngology Task Force: Setzen G, Anne S, Brown E, et al. Guidance for Return to Practice for Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Part One. American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. May 5, 2020.
  4. Opening Up America Again. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Recommendations, Re-opening Facilities to Provide Non-emergent 

    Non-COVID-19 Healthcare: Phase I. April 19, 2020.