This guide provides an overview of safety tips for COVID-19 and outlines 10 easy to follow steps to help you feel prepared and reassured for surgery.
It’s normal to be anxious before surgery. With the added stress of COVID-19, you may have additional concerns about moving forward with a procedure. However, your health and wellness can’t wait indefinitely1-2.
Healthcare providers are informed and have implemented processes to safely manage surgery during COVID-19.
There are also additional steps you can take as a patient to help protect yourself while you prepare for surgery during this time.
Throughout the pandemic, you have heard public health recommendations on how to help keep yourself and others safe.
Those recommendations remain important as healthcare services resume. Specific guidance may vary by geographic region, but following are some infection prevention tips recommended by the CDC4:
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about COVID-19 or about your surgery. It’s important that you contact your providers to learn more about the plans for your treatment and recovery, including any pandemic related considerations put in place to promote your safety and the safety of those taking care of you2-3.
Here are some examples of questions you may want to discuss2-3:
Before your surgery, your doctor or nurse will speak with you to check your medical history. Due to new safety measures, some of your pre-op information may be collected over the phone or video conference. This information will help your surgical team to tailor their care to make sure you have a safe operation and good recovery.
You should let your doctor or nurse know if you:
Doing what you can to improve activity levels, maintain physical health, and strive for a healthy body weight before surgery may help you recover and return to daily activities after6,9.
Your providers can tell you when and how to but consider the following6,9:
It may be tempting to shave, wax, epilate or use hair removal creams around your surgical area prior to surgery, but don’t! Removing hair can damage the skin prior to surgery, which can weaken the bodies defence against germs7, 13-15.
If hair removal is necessary, it will be removed with special clippers designed for medical use on the day of surgery7,14-15.
Have a hot shower or bath using plain soap on the night before your surgery and/or in the morning on the day of your surgery. Your doctor may give you special instructions to use an antiseptic soap instead of plain soap7,9, 14-15.
Patients that are actively kept warm before, during and after surgery have better outcomes than patients who are cold 7,14-17. Before surgery, your medical team may provide you with a special warming gown that gently blows warm air over the skin to increase your temperature16-17.
You can help by doing the following:
Maintaining clean hands can help stop the spread of harmful germs that can cause infection. Encourage the people around you to make sure their hands are clean.
Your team should provide specific instructions on how to care for your incision site and any dressings or devices that may be needed18. Before going home, you should have a clear understanding of discharge instructions, follow-up appointments, what to watch out for, and who to call if you need help or have a problem.
The following signs and symptoms should be reported immediately5,7,18:
Everyday activities may feel overwhelming but taking care of your mental wellbeing and resilience is important to your long-term healing19.
The following are some straightforward tips for self-care and coping with stress19:
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