We know there are a lot of questions about the emerging COVID-19 vaccines. Our goal is to keep you informed as vaccines are approved and rolled out for our workforce, patients and community in the weeks ahead.
Check out this list of of common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines based on current knowledge and understanding. These questions will continue to evolve with time, so we encourage you to check back frequently for the most up-to-date information.
At North Alabama Shoals Hospital, our top priority is safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our patients, providers, employees and community, while providing support for our patients. We continue to closely monitor the prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community and follow state and federal guidance as we adapt our operations to safely care for our patients. Please review the revised support person policy:
- Support person must pass screening.
- Support person must provide their own mask and must keep it on while in the hospital.
- Support person must observe social distancing and sanitize their hands frequently.
- Support persons must be 16-years-old or older.
- COVID-19 diagnosed patients will not be permitted a support person unless it is an end of life situation. In these instances, the patient will be permitted one support person who will be required to don proper personal protective equipment prior to entering the patient’s room.
- Two support persons will be allowed for end of life care. Special considerations will be made for certain instances and those situations will go through the patient’s nurse.
Inpatient: (Med Surg/ICU):
- Adult patients may have one support person while in the hospital (not to swap in and out throughout the day and night).
- Support hours are from 10:00 am-4:00 pm (except Intensive Care).
- Intensive Care support hours are from 10:00 am-12 pm.
- Adult outpatient surgery patients will be permitted one support person. Support person must remain in the same day room while at the facility.
- Patients having outpatient procedures (i.e. CT, US, X-Ray, lab draws, etc.) are not permitted a support person.
- No support person allowed at this time.
- No support person allowed at this time.
Adult Psych (MHCU):
- No support person allowed at this time.
- Thank you for your continued understanding and cooperation as we work to maintain a safe environment for our patients and team.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is the hospital clean and safe?
Our hospital is clean and safe – just like it always has been! One of the core elements of properly managing infectious diseases is the cleanliness of our physical facility. Our Environmental Services team uses ultraviolet technology to kill surface spores and disinfects ALL equipment, reception and waiting areas, restrooms, chairs, door handles, elevator buttons and other hard surfaces regularly through the day.
- Do you have the supplies and capacity to accommodate my procedure?
Our clinical teams will conduct twice daily “go/no-go” meetings in which they will review crucial supplies such as PPE (personal protective equipment), medications, blood, space and staffing to ensure that we have enough to comfortably care for those undergoing elective/non-urgent procedures and accommodate our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.
We are not booking our schedules to full capacity. Out of an abundance of caution and with the conservation of supplies in mind, we are not starting with a full schedule right away. Should things continue to progress positively, we’ll increase our capacity on a week-by-week basis. This is for your safety and ours.
- Do you have enough staff to resume elective/non-urgent procedures?
Our team regularly monitors staffing levels to ensure a safe environment for all patients, providers and employees. In addition, we screen all employees daily for COVID-19 symptoms. We are confident that we have the appropriate staff and providers to resume elective and non-urgent procedures while also accommodating our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.
- Will my experience be the same as in the past?
Your experience in our facility may look a little different than in the past, but this is because we have new processes and procedures in place to further protect your health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- What should I expect during my procedure?
Upon arrival at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions and provided with a cloth mask (if you do not already have one). If you have your own mask or bandana to cover your mouth and nose, you can wear that.
We continue to operate under a zero-visitor protocol out of an abundance of caution, so your family member/spouse/friend/caregiver will not be permitted to enter the hospital. We will gather their contact information so we can follow up with them to provide an update after your procedure and share instructions for pick up at the same location.
You may never see another patient while you are here, and that is intentional for now. We are currently trying to minimize overlap in an effort to promote social distancing, conserve resources, and protect the safety of all of our patients and employees.
You are going to be asked COVID-19 screening questions multiple times by multiple people, up until you are admitted for your procedure. You may get tired of these questions, but we assure you they are for your health and safety, and that of our staff.
You may never see the faces of your care team members under their protective equipment. We do regret this, as the personal connections we have with our patients and community are what keep us going. However, this is an important precaution we are taking to protect you and our clinical staff.
- What questions will I be asked during the screening?
The questions are part of our standard COVID-19 screening process and include asking if you have….
- Shortness of Breath
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Whenever you are asked, please answer these screening questions honestly. If your procedure has to be postponed, it will be just that: postponed. It does NOT mean it will be canceled, and we will work with you to reschedule as soon as possible.
- How will I prepare for my procedure?
If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be asked to practice “safer at home” behaviors for seven (7) days to minimize potential exposure prior to your procedure. This means going a step further from social distancing – trying only to leave your home for critical needs such as groceries or going to the pharmacy. If you need to leave for an essential purpose, you must wear a mask. You also will be asked to check your temperature twice a day during this seven-day period and report any result above 100°F to your provider. Finally, you will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure as an additional precaution.
If you are having an imaging procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.
- Will I be tested for COVID-19?
If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure. Your provider will place the order for the test, and the hospital will reach out with instructions for scheduling. If your test happens to be positive, your procedure will be postponed, and you will be given instructions related to your care. If you are having an imaging procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.
- Can my family member/spouse/friend/caregiver come with me to the facility?
If you have a family member/spouse/friend/caregiver with you, he/she will not be permitted to enter the hospital. We are still operating under our zero-visitor protocol out of an abundance of caution. When you arrive, you will either park and enter through the main entrance, or be dropped off by your family member/spouse/friend/caregiver at the main entrance, where they will remain in the car. We will gather their contact information so we can follow up with them to provide an update after your procedure and share instructions for pick up at the same location.
- What happens when I arrive for my procedure?
When you arrive at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions and provided with a cloth mask (if you do not already have one). If you have your own mask or bandana to cover your mouth and nose, you can wear that.
- Will I be treated near COVID-19 patients?
We are not performing elective/non-urgent procedures on COVID-19 positive patients at this time.
All patients who test positive for an infectious disease, including COVID-19, are isolated for treatment in accordance with state health department and CDC guidelines. Our hospital has a dedicated isolation unit for treatment of patients under investigation and patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.