Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Personal Battle - March 2021 - Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Page 45 of 69

A s the president of a full-service anes- thesia group, my number one goal has always been to protect my staff and our patients. That priority has certainly been put to the test during the pan- demic. My group's providers implemented a number of new airway management policies and infection prevention protocols after the first wave hit to ensure we could continue to provide safe patient care. I believe some of the steps we've taken to mini- mize exposure risks to COVID-19 have improved our overall prac- tices and should remain in place when surgery's regular routines finally return. Securing airways Airway management requirements and recommendations updated during the pandemic have made us reevaluate how to best protect providers from the coronavirus, which is found in sputum and upper airway secretions and dis- seminated in air droplets during aerosol-producing intubations. We've tested many different safety methods, includ- ing the use of rigid and flexible clear plastic intuba- tion boxes. Their use made sense in theory — they prevent the spread of the coronavirus by containing aerosols generated during intubation— but some studies have questioned their effectiveness, so we stopped using them on a routine basis. Instead, the providers use the boxes during cases that could cause the patient to cough. The CDC suggests having the most experienced airway professionals on staff perform intubations. We followed that guidance and have a second anes- thesia provider stationed by the OR door, closely watching the procedure and standing by ready to 4 6 • O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • M A R C H 2 0 2 1 Has COVID-19 Changed Anesthesia Care for Good? The pandemic put renewed focus on airway management and infection control practices. Pam Wrobleski, DNAP, MPM, RN, CRNA, CASC I Sutersville, Pa. All photos by Pam Wrobleski GEARED UP Anesthesia providers have been forced to wear additional layers of protection during the pandemic.

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