Many patients and their family members may be understandably anxious about visiting healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that emergency care cannot wait and avoiding emergency rooms out of fear of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19), can potentially have dire consequences for emergencies where time-sensitive treatment could save your life. At HCA Houston Healthcare, the health and safety of our patients, caregivers and communities is our top priority. Our hospital-based emergency departments and HCA Houston ER 24/7 locations are among the safest places to receive emergency care.
Don't wait to seek emergency care
If you are experiencing emergency symptoms of any kind, such as those of a heart attack or stroke, it is both safe and necessary to seek medical attention. In the case of a heart attack or cardiac arrest, immediate medical attention is critical to prevent long-term damage to the heart.
Seek medical care immediately if you or a loved one experience the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Limb numbness/weakness
- Severe abdominal pain
- Sudden dizziness
Our facilities are staffed with experienced clinicians who are ready to assist patients with health emergencies, whether COVID-19 related or not.
How we are keeping our ERs safe
HCA Houston Healthcare is proactively engaged in the safe management of COVID-19, and we have put a strong emphasis on ensuring that enhanced safety protections are in place at our over 20 sites for emergency care across the Greater Houston area.
We have reduced the number of open entrances to our facilities and have implemented controlled access points to screen all patients, visitors and clinicians entering a facility for symptoms and exposure.
- Entrance to care facilities are restricted to staff, patients, visitors and partners essential to clinical care.
- Updated visitor policies, including limitations, which have been in place for the duration of the pandemic
- Visitor restrictions in patient care areas
Screeners are stationed at each entry to manage expanded screening processes designed to identify anyone who may have respiratory illness, and remove the risk of exposure in waiting rooms or common areas.
- COVID-19 positive patients, or anyone with symptoms of respiratory illness or possible exposure, are masked and escorted to an appropriate area of the facility
- Prioritize testing for admitted patients and clinicians and caregivers experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
Each care facility has designated a dedicated area for COVID-19 positive patients, as well as those who are under investigation. This ensures non-COVID-19 patients are treated in separate areas and assigned caregivers who are not concurrently caring for COVID-19 positive patients.
- Separate treatment areas and staff members for non-COVID-19 patients
- Social distancing, including in waiting rooms and common areas
- Technology-enabled solutions that minimize patients’ time in facility waiting areas
Our facility-wide universal masking policy provides appropriate masks for all who enter our care facilities to keep patients, clinicians, caregivers, staff and visitors safe. We have also increased the cleaning frequency of patient rooms as well as public and common areas, including restrooms, waiting areas or anywhere with commonly touched surfaces.
- Management of supplies to appropriately protect our caregivers and patients
- Removal of high-touch items, such as magazines, toys and vending machines
- Continued reinforcement of preventive measures, such as good hand hygiene