COVID-19 concerns? Don’t let them delay important health care
By: Patrick D. Sura, MD
Chief Medical Officer and Emergency Medicine Physician, Amery Hospital & Clinic
COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind right now. And for good reason: These are unique times, and none of us have ever experienced anything quite like this. When news and information are changing quickly, the safety and security of you and your family has to come first.
I want to assure you that Amery Hospital & Clinic is doing everything possible to provide high quality care in a safe environment. We continue to prepare for potential COVID-19 but thankfully and so far, we’ve experienced limited cases in our counties.
Keeping you safe and healthy is our top priority, too. We have rigorous safety and cleaning protocols in place, including modifying our facilities for greater social distancing, using separate care units for COVID-19 patients, following strict CDC guidelines and much more. We’re also only treating COVID-19 symptoms at designated areas in our hospital and at respiratory care centers, so many of the rest of our locations are available for all your other health care needs.
No matter what kind of care or treatment you need, our doctors and specialists are ready to help. During this time, it’s still important to look after yourself by getting the time-sensitive medical care you need to stay healthy. Even healthy children and adults shouldn’t delay checkups, immunizations and laboratory tests. Please consult your primary care team here in Amery or at one of our satellite clinics in Clear Lake, Luck and Turtle Lake about your time-sensitive medical care.
Time-sensitive reasons to see the doctor during COVID-19
Chronic health conditions and sudden symptoms aren’t taking a break because of COVID-19, and we’re not either. Let’s take a look at some common examples of time-sensitive care you can – and should – still seek treatment for.
Managing chronic conditions
Chronic conditions, like heart disease, diabetes or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), need regular checkups and lab visits with your care team to monitor your progress and make sure your treatment is working.
During COVID-19, you can still see your care team through video visits or in-person appointments, if needed. Though COVID-19 may change the way you get care, it’s important for your health that your care doesn’t stop.
Please be aware that when arriving at our hospital or one of our clinics for medical care, we’ve added extra precautions to protect our patients and employees. In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we require all patients and visitors to wear a mask or face covering while in our clinics and hospital. We’re also performing wellness screenings at the entrances, so we greatly appreciate your understanding and support.
Medically necessary procedures, imaging and lab tests
As clinics and hospitals have gained more personal protective equipment (PPE) and rolled out extensive safety measures to keep patients safe, some previously delayed surgeries and procedures are now being rescheduled.
Your care team will reach out to you to reschedule, so you don’t need to do anything right now. As always, feel free to call your care team if you have any concerns about your care or treatment plan.
We want all children to stay on track with important immunizations that protect against preventable diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, polio and more. Key immunizations are given from infancy to 2 years, 4-5 years, 11-12 years and at 16 years.
If you have a child who is due for any immunizations, call your clinic today or make an appointment online at amerymedicalcenter.org. If you’re not sure what immunizations your child should receive, your doctor can help you find out.
Help with extreme pain management
A past or present illness, injury or condition – like migraines, fibromyalgia, nerve pain or arthritis – might have prompted you and your doctor to work together on a pain management plan. This can make daily living and favorite hobbies easier.
But if your pain becomes intense and interrupts your day, the COVID-19 situation doesn’t mean you have to go it alone – our care teams are still here to care for you and help you find relief through video visits, in-person appointments and more.
Time-sensitive colonoscopies or mammograms
Colonoscopies and mammograms are examples of screenings that can detect several medical conditions, some of them serious.
If you had a colonoscopy or mammogram appointment that had to be delayed due to COVID-19, we’re beginning to reschedule these visits. You don’t need to do anything – our care teams will reach out to you to reschedule. We’ll make sure you get the right care at the right time in your diagnosis and treatment.
Emergencies, like heart attacks, strokes, or intense stomach or abdominal pain
In a medical emergency, every minute matters. Getting care quickly can make a big difference in your treatment and help you have an easier recovery. Medical situations that should be addressed immediately include:
- Heart attack warning signs – Chest discomfort, shortness of breath, upper body discomfort and other signs like nausea
- Stroke warning signs – Balance problems, blurry vision, face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty
- Severe stomach or abdominal pain, which could be appendicitis, a gallbladder infection or something else
If you or a family member are experiencing these or other emergency symptoms, call 911 or visit Amery Hospital & Clinic’s emergency room. Emergency rooms are following strict safety measures to keep you safe from COVID-19.
What if I’m not sure whether I should get care?
Wondering about whether or not you should seek medical care is common. It can be hard to tell the difference between something that might get better on its own and something that needs an expert’s input.
When you’re not sure what to do, you can always call our 24/7 CareLine℠ at 715-268-8000
or 800-551-0859. Answered by registered nurses, the CareLine can answer questions about symptoms, help you decide what kind of care you need and offer home treatment suggestions.
In an emergency, always call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. Our hospital, along with all our clinics, are safe and ready to care for you.
Looking after yourself during COVID-19
We’re all hoping things get back to “normal” soon, and Amery Hospital & Clinic and HealthPartners are working hard to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading further. But it’s too soon to say how long current social distancing guidelines will last. That means it’s vital for you and your family to look after both your mental and physical health.
When you need help, we’re here for you. Despite COVID-19, it’s important not to delay treatment for any concerns you have. Our health care experts are taking many steps to keep you safe so you can continue to get personalized, appropriate treatment. You have options, and together, we can help take care of your health and well-being no matter what comes up.
Stay safe, stay healthy and enjoy the summer!