As organizations resume elective surgeries, guidelines for readiness, prioritization and scheduling have been established in collaboration among numerous peak bodies to ensure staff and patient safety. The key criteria address several important considerations including a sustained reduction of COVID-19 cases, rapid diagnostic testing availability and the capacity to safely care for all patients in need with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) available.

Clinical Consultant, Peter Graves, BSN, RN, CNOR presents Reopening Surgery: Navigating Through Uncharted Waters to address all aspects of resuming elective surgery.

Additional strategies address case prioritization and scheduling, policies and procedures based on COVID-19 related data, resources, and other pertinent clinical information. As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to evolve, safety and risk mitigation strategies should be adapted accordingly. These areas include staff support, patient communication policies and preoperative testing processes. Public health contact tracings for all new cases and their close contacts need to be incorporated in the plan as well.

Joint Statement: Roadmap for Maintaining Essential Surgery during COVID-19 Pandemic

1. ACS, ASA, AORN, AHA, Joint Statement: Roadmap for resuming elective surgery after COVID-19 Pandemic. American College of Surgeons.
2. Rivers R. (2020). Public Health Principles for a Phased Reopening During COVID-19: Guidance for Governors. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Center of Health Security: Baltimore, MD.
3. Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, American College of Surgeons, American Society of Anesthesiologists, American Hospital Association, Joint Statement: Roadmap for Maintaining Essential Surgery during COVID-19 Pandemic. Association of periOperative Registered Nurses.