Ontario Releases Plan to Resume Scheduled Surgeries and Procedures
May 8, 2020
Global Korean Post
The Ontario government has developed a comprehensive framework to help hospitals assess their readiness and begin planning for the gradual resumption of scheduled surgeries and procedures, while maintaining capacity to respond to COVID-19. Timelines will vary from hospital to hospital and be conditional on approval by regional oversight tables involved with planning and coordinating Ontario’s response to COVID-19.
Details were provided yesterday by Premier Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
The framework, A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, contains clear criteria that must be met before hospitals can resume scheduled surgeries, including ensuring that the hospital and its region have the following:
- A stable number of COVID-19 cases;
- A stable supply of personal protective equipment;
- A stable supply of medications;
- An adequate capacity of inpatient and intensive care unit beds;
- An adequate capacity of health human resources; and
- The availability of post-acute care outside the hospital that would be required to support patients after discharge.
These criteria will ensure hospitals take a measured and responsible approach that prioritizes the health and safety of patients and health care workers, while maintaining plans to support long-term care homes in their region.
As a first step, hospitals will need to assess if there is adequate staffing, equipment and other resources to resume scheduled care. This assessment will be revisited on a weekly basis to reflect changing needs and requirements, including responding to any COVID-19 surges that may occur locally.
The framework also sets out the criteria for prioritizing surgeries such as:
- A patient’s condition;
- The type of procedure a patient requires and whether options for non-operative treatments exist;
- The associated risks of delaying a patient’s surgery; and
- The resources required in terms of personal protective equipment, medications, intensive care unit beds, and other care requirements needed after an operation.
Hospitals are also encouraged to look for opportunities to improve care delivery for scheduled surgical and procedural care. This could include using services that reduce patient time spent in acute care settings, the use of virtual care, care in the community, post-op remote monitoring programs, outpatient care, and the use of e-consults services, virtual medical assessments and triaging.