FAQs: How we are caring for you
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created sweeping changes in our day-to-day lives. We want to assure you that Main Line Health's commitment to patient, family and employee safety are essential priorities as we continue to provide exceptional care to the community. Here are some frequently asked questions related to COVID-19 and safe return to operations at Main Line Health hospitals and health centers.
SAFETY OF MAIN LINE HEALTH FACILITIES
What precautions is Main Line Health taking to make sure its environment is safe for me to seek care?
Before the pandemic even reached our area, Main Line Health began working to ensure the safety of our patients, staff and community. Precautionary measures included the suspension of many elective surgeries, procedures and non-urgent office visits.
We are committed to ensuring the utmost safety of all Main Line Health patients and employees. Health care services at Main Line Health that were previously postponed are resuming although in a phased manner. When appropriate, you may still receive your care with a telemedicine visit. Your health care provider will help you determine if this is appropriate for you.
The following safety procedures are in place at all Main Line Health facilities:
- Screening of all patients, visitors and staff for COVID-19 symptoms every day. For patients with COVID-19 symptoms, Main Line Health will first schedule a telemedicine visit and determine if the patient should have a COVID test. If an in-person physical exam or test is needed, a patient may be sent to our testing center or directed to an urgent care location.
- Main Line Health staff with symptoms are tested and those who test positive must abide by Main Line Health guidelines for appropriate return to work.
- Masking policy requires all staff, patients, and visitors to wear masks or face coverings at all times. Gaiters, cloth masks, and masks with valves are prohibited. For those who arrive without a mask, one will be provided and must be worn to enter the building. Please note the mask must cover your nose and mouth.
- Before surgery each patient is required to have a COVID-19 test prior to admission. If a patient has a positive test, a decision will be made between the patient and surgeon regarding the safety of delaying the procedure.
- Social distancing measures have been taken. Public spaces within all Main Line Health facilities, including lobbies, waiting areas, as well as pre- and postoperative areas are arranged to promote social distancing.
- Sanitization standards meet infection-control protocol. All of our clinical environments including each operating room continue to be thoroughly cleaned in accordance with infection control guidelines between cases. Waiting areas are also cleaned regularly in accordance with infection control guidelines.
- Literature that can transmit virus has been removed. In addition, reading material and brochures have been removed from our waiting areas and public spaces to reduce the chance of spreading the virus.
- Telemedicine further prevents contact with virus. Most of our providers offer telemedicine visits to patients for select conditions or services. If you would like to see your care provider from the comfort of your home, please call your provider's office for more information.
What is Main Line Health doing to make sure I don't come in contact with someone who has COVID-19?
Those arriving at any Main Line Health facility, are screened for COVID-19 symptoms, including a temperature check for fever. This reduces the chance of a COVID-symptomatic person entering the facility. We are also regularly testing symptomatic patients and employees for COVID-19. Additionally, the following measures are in place:
- We test all patients for COVID-19 prior to surgery.
- Public spaces are cleaned regularly and are arranged to promote social distancing.
- In most cases, we are caring for patients with coronavirus in a specific COVID unit in our hospitals that are separate from other patient care areas, in order to optimize our infection control practices and protect patients and staff.
Are there different processes and precautions at the various Main Line Health facilities?
All Main Line Health hospitals, health centers and ambulatory practices are taking the same precautions to prevent exposure to COVID-19.
Is it safe for patients and staff to be at Main Line Health facilities at this time?
Yes. Main Line Health has instituted a number of precautionary measures to reduce the likelihood of infection and community spread, including visitor restrictions and screening, cancellation of community events, groups and classes, suspension of volunteer duties, and restriction of deliveries and on-site visits from third-party vendors.
Is it safe to go to the emergency department (ED)?
Yes. We're keeping ED patients whose symptoms are consistent with COVID-19 separate, isolating them from everyone else and thoroughly cleaning treatment spaces in accordance with infection control guidelines between cases. Public spaces, including waiting areas, are cleaned regularly and are arranged to promote social distancing.
In an emergency, every minute matters. Call 9-1-1 or visit the ER.
Should I go to urgent care instead of the emergency department (ED) because of the risk of coronavirus in the hospital?
Rest assured that we have taken every precaution to keep our patients and staff safe at our hospitals and facilities. If you are experiencing a true medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department at one of our four acute care hospitals in the western suburbs of Philadelphia:
- Lankenau Medical Center (Wynnewood)
- Bryn Mawr Hospital (Bryn Mawr)
- Paoli Hospital (Paoli)
- Riddle Hospital (Media)
If you're not sure whether to go to urgent care or the ED, please call your primary care provider and follow their instructions.
If Main Line Health is treating COVID-19 patients, isn't it putting others at risk?
The safety of our patients, employees and community is always paramount, and even more so at this critical time. All employees and visitors are masked and practicing social distancing. Employees wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for a COVID patient and also follow strict guidelines for appropriate removal or disposal when outside of the patient's room.
SURGICAL AND MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS
What will it be like in the waiting room? Will you limit the number of people? Will people be required to wear masks? Will we have to wait six feet apart?
For optimal safety and peace of mind in the waiting room:
- Everyone is required to wear a mask or face covering at the time of their visit. Gaitors, cloth masks, and masks with valves are prohibited.
- We enforce social distancing with at least six feet of separation from the nearest person and our waiting rooms have been reconfigured to allow a limited number of people in them at one time.
- We are expanding contactless check-in and check-out registration procedures.
- Our waiting areas are cleaned regularly, and exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between each patient visit.
- Reading material and brochures have been removed from our waiting areas and other public spaces to reduce the chance of spreading the virus.
How are the facilities cleaned between patients? Exam rooms, equipment, other? How frequently is the waiting room cleaned?
All of our clinical environments including operating rooms and exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned in accordance with infection control guidelines between each case. Waiting areas are also cleaned regularly, in accordance with infection control guidelines.
What precautions should I take when I come in for an appointment or surgery?
You will be contacted prior to your appointment by a Main Line Health representative to review screening questions and additional information about your surgery. If you have any symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19 (these include fevers, chills, cough, loss of sense of taste or smell, muscle pain, headache, or sore throat), you will receive a call back from a Main Line Health representative. They will review your symptoms with you and determine if you need a COVID-19 test, a telemedicine visit, or if you should reschedule your appointment or surgery. We require that a mask or face covering be worn to your visit, procedure or surgery.
Can I be seen by a doctor via teleconference? (telemedicine services)
Yes, all of our Main Line HealthCare providers are seeing patients via video conference. Find out more about our telemedicine services. Our physicians are also available for in-person appointments, if needed.
How will I know when my elective surgery is going to be rescheduled?
If your elective surgery has been postponed, your surgeon's office will reach out to you to reschedule. Thank you for your patience.
How is Main Line Health prioritizing which types of patients should be seen or procedures performed first?
Our physicians will prioritize patients based on medical condition, risk for disease progression, a patient's decision to have surgery or a procedure, and resource availability, including inpatient beds, anesthesia, testing, blood products, PPE and other necessary supplies.
Can I postpone my surgery? And if I do, what are the risks of putting it off?
It is important that you discuss this with your doctor so you can make an informed decision based on your medical condition.
What is an elective surgery?
When a surgery is considered "elective" it does not mean it is optional. An elective surgery is most often a medically necessary procedure that you and your surgeon decide when to schedule, together. Urgent, or emergency surgeries, on the other hand, may be life-threatening and cannot be scheduled in advance.
Will I need to come in for a follow-up visit, or can that be done with telemedicine?
Your doctor will let you know if you need an in-person visit or if you can have a follow-up visit by telephone or video. Learn more about telemedicine.
Do I need to self-quarantine after surgery? Does my family need to self-quarantine because I've been exposed?
No. Quarantine is only necessary if you have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 or if you've tested positive. To reduce your risk of exposure prior to surgery, we recommend you stay at home, practice social distancing, wear a face covering or mask when going outside of your home, and wash your hands frequently.
Do I need to test negative for COVID-19 before I have my surgery or procedure? How does that process work? What happens if I test positive?
All patients are being tested for COVID-19 before coming to the hospital for a surgery and for select invasive procedures. If you test negative, your surgery will proceed as planned. If you test positive, a decision will be made between you and your surgeon regarding the safety of delaying your procedure. In most cases if your surgery is non-urgent, it will be delayed for a short period of time to make sure that you are healthy. We do have protocols in place to perform urgent or emergency surgeries safely on patients with COVID-19.
At the time of your procedure scheduling, you will be notified if a COVID-19 test will be needed and how to obtain the testing. As noted above, if you test positive for COVID-19 a determination will be made with your physician if the procedure should proceed or be re-scheduled.
Will I be tested when I come in for an office appointment? Are there screening procedures?
No—we will not test a patient before routine office visits. We screen patients for symptoms before their visit to our practices and on the day of surgery. We will ask you questions and take your temperature to determine if you have any symptoms.
I have a lab order from my physician—what is the process for testing?
If you are using a Main Line Health laboratory, we are prioritizing orders for patients who require urgent laboratory testing. Please speak with your provider to find out if your lab testing is non-urgent and can be delayed safely or postponed.
TESTING AT MAIN LINE HEALTH
Can I get tested for COVID-19?
If you feel you are at risk for coronavirus, please call your primary care provider to determine if you are a candidate for testing. If you require testing, your primary care provider will tell you where to go for testing. Please be advised: Testing for COVID-19 is not available at all sites across Main Line Health.
How do I get my results and how long does it take after being tested for COVID-19?
You will be notified of your results. In most cases, results of outpatient COVID testing are available within the week.
Can I be tested for antibodies?
Main Line Health is currently offering coronavirus testing for antibodies utilizing an FDA-approved Abbott procedure. If you have questions about whether antibody testing is right for you, please contact your primary care provider. Find out more about COVID-19 antibody testing.
INPATIENT AND OUTPATIENT VISITATION DURING COVID-19
We appreciate your ongoing patience as we seek to keep our patients and employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the time being, Main Line Health has limited, in-person visitation at our hospitals. (Bryn Mawr Rehab has specific visitation guidelines.)
Visitation Guidelines: What to expect
We understand the importance of visiting friends, family and loved ones in the hospital. While you are with us, please follow these visitation guidelines for everyone’s safety:
- Masks are required at all times. Gaiters, bandanas and cloth masks, and masks with a valve are not acceptable.
- Visitors may not remove their masks to eat or drink.
- Visitors and patients may leave the patient room during the visit. Both must be masked and maintain social distance from other patients, visitors and staff.
- Visitors must practice hand hygiene and social distancing.
- Visitors may not use the restrooms in the patient room. Visitors should use public restrooms.
- Visitors may not visit patients for one hour after completion of an aerosol-generating procedure—regardless of visitor approval status or individual COVID status.
- Visitors may not be in the room during an extubation (removal of a previously inserted tube, such as a catheter or a feeding tube). Visitors may not enter a room until one hour after the extubation is complete.
Please follow the guidance listed above and respect the instruction and guidance of unit or department staff.
How many visitors are allowed?
Each inpatient is permitted to have two visitors per day and all visitors must be approved by the patient's care team.
What about emergency department (ED) support visitors?
At this time, we do not recommend patients bring a support person along for ED visits.
However, there are some exceptions:
- Minors accompanied by adult guardian
- Patients requiring 24-hour caregiver assistance
- Patients with cognitive deficiencies
- Hospice patients at end of life
If you are a supporting visitor, please see the ED clinical care team to be approved.
When can I visit my loved one?
Inpatient visiting hours are between 11:00 am to 7:00 pm at our hospitals.
My loved one is hospitalized for COVID. Can I visit them?
COVID-positive or COVID-quarantine patients may not receive visitors. With the patient's approval, however, the nursing team may provide an update via phone once a day to a designated family member or representative.
How many visitors can pregnant patients have? Is a doula allowed?
Please review our complete guidelines for visiting maternity patients.
Can I visit my loved one who is having same-day surgery or a procedure?
Yes, one support person or visitor may accompany a patient having a same-day surgery or procedure. You will be asked to remain in the designated waiting area.
Where do I park? Is there valet parking?
Garage and outdoor parking, drop-offs, shuttle service and patient escorts are still available. Valet service is suspended at all Main Line Health facilities to limit COVID-19 exposure.
Can children visit?
Children under 12 years old are not permitted to visit at this time. Children 12 and older are welcome to visit.
Can I accompany my loved one to an outpatient visit?
Yes, one visitor or support person is permitted to accompany a patient during their outpatient office visits or for testing. In some testing locations, you may be asked to wait in a waiting area if space is restricted.