As you plan for your appointment at any of our Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH) facilities, it’s important for you to know that our hospitals and clinics are safe. Keeping our patients and employees healthy and safe remains our highest priority. This commitment to health and safety is the reason behind many of the steps we’ve taken since the beginning of our response to COVID-19.
As you consider coming to one of our hospitals or clinics for your appointment or procedure, this is what is important for you to know.
The health and safety of our patients, visitors and staff is priority #1
Our #1 priority has always been, and continues to be, the health and safety of our patients, visitors and staff. It’s Job One for us. It’s why we’re here.
The current COVID-19 situation is manageable
News reports, or reports from mainly urban areas, often paint a different picture from what we are experiencing here. In northern New England we’ve been fortunate that COVID-19 cases have been manageable and the number of cases appear to be flattening.
Current projections show that if social distancing and other measures continue to be maintained, any surge that may come will not exceed our capacity to care for patients.
We remain prepared for an increase in COVID-19 cases, and are ready to continue to meet the needs of both patients with COVID-19 and those without it.
We’re open and here for our patients
We never closed our doors.
While we did postpone some elective, time-sensitive procedures and appointments, our hospitals have continued to deliver safe, high-quality urgent and emergency-level care to all of our patients. Our emergency departments continue to receive patients, cancer care continues to be provided, and babies continue to be born … all safely.
It’s critical that you not postpone care for your health needs, or ignore symptoms that need medical attention. Early detection and treatment means better health outcomes.
We’re keeping our patients and staff safe, and have the proper amount of PPE
We’re taking many steps to keep our patients and staff safe, including:
We require personal protective equipment (PPE)
- All staff wear some level of personal protective equipment at all times.
- Patients are required to wear a face mask.
- We continually monitor our PPE inventory.
We screen visitors and support social distancing efforts
- Every person entering any D-HH facility is screened, no matter who they are or how many times they have been screened.
- Our patient waiting areas have been rearranged so chairs are spaced to ensure social distancing. In some facilities, patients will wait in their cars until called in for their appointment to reduce time in the waiting area.
We have additional patient care guidelines
- Patients with COVID-19-related symptoms are treated in a separate area. Extra vigilant care is given to prevent the spread of infection.
- Extra time between appointments has been added, and our hours are being extended to include evenings and weekends.
- D-HH's Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire (VNH) continues to see COVID-19 patients who are cared for in their homes.
As always, we are vigilant about cleaning
- We are carefully and vigilantly cleaning all spaces.
We have been leading the way
We have been planning and preparing for public health emergencies for decades, and although this is an experience unlike any other, we’ve had many years of analyzing and preparing for high-threat infections such as Ebola, and the bird and swine flus.
Our team of experts have deep experience managing and treating infectious diseases while supporting the health needs of our communities during pandemics.
Microbiology Laboratory has increased capacity
Our Microbiology Laboratory has increased its capacity for testing, and has assisted the State of New Hampshire in speeding up the process for evaluation and diagnosis of COVID-19 cases.
Expanded use of phone and video appointments
We have expanded our use of phone and video appointments through our Connected Care—Telehealth operations. Prior to COVID-19, we managed an average of ten visits per day. Now we average 1,100 visits per day, and see those numbers continuing to climb. Most insurance plans do cover phone and video appointments at this time.
Leading-edge research is under way
D-HH is involved in leading-edge research into the causes and treatments of COVID-19. While we are prepared to treat every patient today, our researchers are involved in more than a dozen research projects including:
- Investigations of Remdesivir, which has shown early promise in treating severely ill COVID-19 patients.
- Investigations of the potential for blood plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients to be used as treatment.
D-HH is open and safe! If you have additional questions about your upcoming appointment or procedure, please contact your provider's office or local D-HH member hospital: