The importance of continuing to manage a chronic condition during a pandemic
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been stressed that the people most at risk for hospitalization and complications from the disease are people with underlying conditions. For this reason, people with heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension or other health issues should be especially meticulous about social distancing and other protective measures.
But unfortunately, the protective guidance has led some of these patients to delay routine care out of fear of contracting COVID-19. While these fears are valid and understandable, delaying medical needs can cause health issues down the road and result in a trip to the emergency room that could have been prevented. Many physicians are concerned about a second wave of deaths caused by the delay of healthcare as opposed to the disease itself.
Safe treatment options during COVID-19
While it is essential that you continue to manage any chronic conditions with help from your primary care doctor or specialist, we recognize that this is an unprecedented time, bringing uncertainty and unease – especially regarding visiting a medical facility. That’s why we are providing you with more options to stay in touch with your doctor including various telehealth options:
- Primary care physicians and medical specialists – Many of our Tulane Health System doctors now offer the option for a video visit if your appointment does not require in-person treatment
- Care Navigator – Our online healthcare triage tool will connect you with a virtual provider 24/7 if appropriate for your condition
- Nurses On-Call – Talk to a registered nurse 24/7 free of charge
However, in-person medical visits may still be necessary. You may have severe symptoms or require a physical exam, test or time-sensitive procedure. If you need to be seen in person, rest assured that your safety is our top priority.
There is a perception that healthcare facilities are sources of exposure and contamination of COVID-19, but that is not the case. Medical clinics and hospitals have extensive safety measures in place to prevent infectious disease from spreading.
At Tulane Health System, some of the precautions we are taking include:
- All patients, visitors and clinicians are screened before entering a facility
- Rapid testing capabilities, so we know if someone tests positive for COVID-19 within minutes
- Each hospital has a separate location for COVID-19 positive patients. These patients are masked and escorted to designated locations
- Everyone is required to wear a mask throughout our facilities, which exceeds CDC guidelines
- Heightened infection prevention policies, including the removal of high-touch items such as magazines and toys
- Food and drinks are prohibited in clinical units to prevent the spread of illness
- Non-COVID-19 patients, as well as those receiving outpatient care, or patients with scheduled procedures, are treated in separate areas and assigned caregivers who are not concurrently caring for COVID-19 positive patients
- Updated visitor policies, including limitations, which have been in place for the duration of the pandemic
Helping you stay healthy during COVID
It is more important than ever to effectively manage any chronic conditions and keep your immune system strong. Be sure to:
- Follow your prescribed regimen to help control any chronic conditions
- Come in for regularly scheduled medical appointments
- Continue to take prescribed medications
- Don’t ignore health concerns
- Follow the CDC’s recommendations for protection against the virus
- Don’t delay necessary medical procedures