SWAIN COMMUNITY HOSPITAL TO RESUME ELECTIVE AND NON-URGENT PROCEDURES

May 6, 2020

Swain Community Hospital announced today that it is taking the appropriate steps to safely resume some elective and non-urgent procedures that were previously rescheduled out of an abundance of caution amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The decision to reschedule procedures when clinically appropriate was made in accordance with federal and state guidance, and aimed to help preserve critical resources in the event of a surge of COVID-19 patients in the community. Today, current projections indicate a lower than expected volume of COVID-19 in the region, which means less strain on healthcare resources.

“Resuming these important services is an essential component of meeting our community’s health needs and advancing our mission of Making Communities Healthier,” said Steve Heatherly, Chief Executive Officer of Swain Community Hospital. “As this work gradually gets underway in our hospital again, we remain committed to conserving critical supplies, being vigilant in our fight against COVID-19, and ensuring that our facility is a safe place for all patients, providers and employees.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Swain Community Hospital has continued to carefully follow guidance from federal, state and local officials, monitor the prevalence of the virus in the community, and evaluate supplies and resources – including personal protective equipment like masks, gowns, gloves and goggles.

The decisions about which procedures can safely move forward will be made only after assessing a comprehensive pre-operative checklist and evaluating potential risks. The hospital will initially focus on scheduling patients with more time-sensitive health needs, and those decisions will be made in partnership with the attending physician. Patients who are scheduled and approved for procedures must meet specific requirements, including passing standard COVID-19 screenings. Patients also will be asked to practice “safer at home” behaviors for seven days prior to their procedure to minimize potential exposure; check their temperature twice a day during this 7-day period and report temperatures over 100°F to their provider; and undergo testing for COVID-19. Although Swain looks forward to being able to care for our community by bringing back elective services and procedures, progression is subject to change dependent on COVID-19 in our area. If our county and region begins to see an increase in cases, Swain will reevaluate the feasibility of the current plan and adjust accordingly to ensure patient health.

Patients awaiting information about their previously postponed procedure can expect to hear from their provider or provider’s office to discuss rescheduling at the appropriate time.

Swain Community Hospital will continue to screen and mask everyone who enters the facility and maintain a zero-visitor protocol for the foreseeable future. These important measures have had a positive impact on ensuring a safe environment, and they also are aligned with the federal government’s guidelines. Additionally, the facility has implemented new processes and procedures to further protect the health of patients, providers and employees. Visit MySwainCommunity.com to learn more.

As a reminder, if you are having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or go directly to the Emergency Room. If possible, tell the dispatch agent if your emergency involves symptoms possibly related to COVID-19.

About Swain Community Hospital

Swain Community Hospital, established in 1950, is a 48-bed Critical Access Hospital serving a multi-county region with primary care, emergency medicine and subspecialty care including a pain clinic and a transitional care unit. Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital began an affiliation in 1997 and joined Duke LifePoint Healthcare in 2014.