Commentary: At Bayhealth, we’re safer than ever before

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What matters to our friends and neighbors here at home matters to all of us at Bayhealth. We are aware that some in our community are putting off their health care needs for fear of exposure to COVID-19. As a son, a husband and a father, I certainly understand and respect that fear. As a physician, nothing concerns me more. The fact is at Bayhealth, we are seeing patients come into our emergency departments, walk-in medical facilities and primary care practices who have waited too long to take care of unexpected aches, pains and injuries. Those waits have been unnecessary, as Bayhealth has implemented the most comprehensive safety procedures possible.

As the regional health care leader, Bayhealth has always been poised to safely care for our community. In fact, this past year, Bayhealth hospitals received distinct honors, like being named a national “Top Hospital” by the Leapfrog Group and a “Top Maternity Hospital” by Newsweek, for being among the nation’s best hospitals in achieving exceptional quality and safety standards. We are safer now than ever before. Our top priority has been to ensure all our facilities are safe and ready to care for those who need us. There’s no reason to put off the care you need, when you need it.

To call the past year a challenge would be an understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic has tested us all. As health care providers, we’ve learned an incredible amount throughout the pandemic. Prevention measures remain paramount — and we know they work!

Wearing a face mask, washing your hands and socially distancing are key behaviors to stop the spread of COVID-19. These time-tested and proven measures will remain important, even as more of our community receives COVID-19 vaccines.

Inside our facilities, we continue the important infection-prevention work for which our health system is best known, and we’ve increased those efforts even more so over the past year. That includes wearing the proper personal protective equipment, screening everyone who enters our facilities, using state-of-the-art cleaning and disinfecting procedures, spacing out furniture to promote social distancing, adding additional layers of protection like Plexiglas and, of course, making hand sanitizer readily available every step of the way, from the moment you enter the front door.

At the onset of the pandemic, it was clear that visitor restrictions were necessary to protect our patients, guests and team members. As we continue to navigate the changing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been especially mindful of visitation. We’re proud to say our visitation guidelines have been created to balance the needs of our patients, while ensuring the safety of everyone who enters our facilities. Our teams constantly monitor community data in real time to determine when and how we must act swiftly to continue to protect everyone at Bayhealth. That’s what makes Bayhealth a regional health care leader — always doing what is right, the right way, for the right reasons.

Our attention to the safety of our patients extends beyond our walls. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve remained a resource for our community — whether it’s with our Coronavirus Management Team (CMT) hotline, our opportunities for COVID-19 testing or by providing vaccines at community clinics. We’re here, and we’re everywhere, including close to your home.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, our health care teams were ready to be on the front lines caring for their community with a renewed purpose, all while continuing the great work they already do every day. During a time of fear and uncertainty, our team members never wavered from their dedication to providing safe, high-quality care to our neighbors across Kent and Sussex counties.

Our community has been our constant partner throughout this pandemic. While these have been unprecedented times, know that Bayhealth is safe, and we are ready to care for you and your family. Our award-winning care teams are committed to bringing the nation’s best health care home to Delaware, which begins and ends with providing the safest care available.

Dr. John Fink, MSHQS, is vice president of quality and medical affairs for Bayhealth.