COVID-19: National Park Medical Center Continues Preparedness Measures for Hot Springs Community

Hot Springs, AR (March 20, 2020) —-National Park Medical Center continues to adapt to meet the clinical needs of our communities during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and through this, we remain committed to providing high quality care and protecting the health and safety of our patients, employees, physicians and community at large. We have been working closely with the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Arkansas Hospital Association (AHA) following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An important element to our preparedness is conserving essential resources needed to care for patients with COVID-19, where possible, as we navigate this rapidly evolving situation and prepare for what the next few weeks may hold.

In accordance with recent guidance from the ADH and AHA we have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to reschedule elective and non-urgent cases for 30 days when deemed clinically appropriate. Patients whose appointments are being rescheduled are being notified, and procedures will be rescheduled as soon as feasible. We are continuing to schedule new cases beyond April 19.

Importantly, rescheduling elective and non-urgent cases:

  • Conserves essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for our frontline staff members;
  • Conserves hospital and ICU beds, supplies and other resources; and
  • Ensures we will have all necessary personnel available to support our sickest patients.

The trust our community places in us is so important. We want to assure our community that it is safe to come to our hospital should you or a family member need care. Our providers and clinical teams are well-trained and prepared to safely respond to viruses and infectious diseases, including COVID-19. We have made the decision to reschedule elective and non-urgent procedures because it will help ensure we have the people and resources necessary to meet the needs of our patients in the coming weeks. We know that it is the right thing to do.

National Park Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors at all times. While COVID-19 is new, effectively responding to other infectious diseases is not. We have tested processes and plans in place to respond to situations involving infectious disease year-round. Here is what we are doing to stay ready and effectively respond to COVID-19:

  • We continue to work closely with the Arkansas Department of Health and follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure that we are prepared with appropriate plans to detect, protect and respond should anyone in our community contract or be exposed to COVID-19.
  • We have hand hygiene products easily accessible throughout our facility.
  • We are screening patients in our emergency department, inpatient units and outpatient clinics based on CDC guidance.
  • Staff treating a potential COVID-19 case are provided with all appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to help prevent exposure.
  • Patients with respiratory or COVID-19-related symptoms are immediately provided masks to wear to help prevent exposure to others.
  • In the event that we identify a potential COVID-19 case, we will follow all CDC guidelines for placing that individual in isolation for their care and for the protection of other patients, employees and visitors.
  • We have implemented visitor restrictions at our facility as follows:
    • Limit visitors to only one well visitor over the age of 16 for each patient, with exceptions for pediatric, labor & delivery and end-of-life care patients.
    • As an additional precaution, our entrances have also been limited. Patients and guests may enter through the main hospital entrance from 5:00 am to 5:00 pm daily, and the Emergency Department entrance facing Malvern Avenue 24/7.  All visitors will be screened upon entry to the hospital.

These measures are in place to protect our facility and our community. Please know that our providers and clinical teams are well-trained and prepared to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, seasonal flu and other respiratory illnesses.

What you can do

It’s easy to feel helpless when faced with a barrage of news reports and social media updates regarding COVID-19. The good news is that there are some key steps you can take to help protect you and your loved ones and help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Staying home when you are sick
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, including your phone, computer, remote controls and doorknobs
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • Using an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available (Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty)
  • Practicing social distancing behaviors, including working from home, avoiding public gatherings and unnecessary travel, and maintaining a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible.

What to do if you are experiencing symptoms

First and foremost – if you are having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or go directly to the Emergency Room. If possible, notify the dispatch agent that your emergency involves symptoms possibly related to COVID-19.

For general information regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), call the Hot Springs Community Call Center at 501.760.4307. The call center is taking calls from 8am – 5pm daily.  For non-emergency needs, if you need medical attention due to respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and plan to visit our hospital, your primary care provider or an urgent clinic, please call ahead before you go and let them know that you are experiencing symptoms that may possibly be related to COVID-19. This will allow providers to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.

Please be reassured that our number one priority is the health and well-being of our community – and that includes you. We are prepared to manage an outbreak of respiratory illness, and we encourage you to follow the guidance above and stay tuned to updates from the CDC to help protect you and your loved ones. Keeping our community healthy is a community effort, and we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our community healthy today and for generations to come.

We appreciate your understanding and support as we continue to do everything we can to prepare for the potential impact of COVID-19 on our community. For more information about hospital preparedness, please visit our website at nationalparkmedical.com. For more information about COVID-19, please contact the Arkansas Department of Health or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.

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