At Parkland Medical Center, our top priority is protecting our patients, clinicians, nurses and colleagues. As we face the current COVID-19 pandemic head on, we never lose sight of the individuals who turn to us for comprehensive care, including essential behavioral health services.
Our sites of care maintain all COVID-19 precautions to ensure our patients and staff are safe. Many precautions taken to treat COVID-19 patients are similar to those taken to treat influenza, which is something we handle all the time. Because we instituted protocols around limited access, screening practices and isolating patients months ago, our facilities are a safe place to seek care, no matter what your health need.
Not only do we conduct staff screenings and temperature checks prior to each shift in both our inpatient and outpatient behavioral health settings, but we have also established universal masking for all staff. Masks are also offered to all other individuals entering an HCA Healthcare facility, including behavioral health patients and visitors. In addition to masking, we continue to emphasize other key activities to prevent the spread of this virus, including frequent handwashing, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, not touching one’s face and respiratory etiquette.
We are practicing social distancing during both meal and therapeutic group times. In addition to virtual visitation facilitated in most inpatient units, we are also offering telehealth options for all of our outpatient group settings in both Intensive Outpatient Programs and Partial Hospitalization Programs.
Our COVID-19 care for psychiatric patients does not differ from our standard COVID-19 care. Our teams are equipped with the resources and guidance necessary for the transfer of potential COVID-19 patients from behavioral health settings to medical units for care and clearance. Our case management teams are also aware of community resources and locations for discharge during this time.
We are committed to providing stability and support for the highest standard of behavioral care, today and every day.
As the threat from the COVID-19 virus is amplified, so too are our efforts to reach more people and communities in need. That’s why we continue to offer new ways to assure uninterrupted compassionate care for your patients’ behavioral health wellness. We understand these are stressful times with challenging weeks ahead.
We would like to offer our support to our healthcare colleagues across the state by assisting in the management of behavioral health patients. This will allow our medical/surgical hospitals to better manage their inpatient beds for COVID-19 related illnesses.
We are making sure that both our behavioral health patients and staff are as safe as possible. Our inpatient behavioral health units are masking all staff, patients, and visitors. We are also checking patient temperatures twice per day on inpatient units and daily before starting our outpatient programs. Patients who are COVID symptomatic or who have a change in medical status during admission are transferred to our medical floors for safe treatment and psychiatric co-management.
We are excited to announce the new option to participate virtually in our Intensive Outpatient and Partial Hospitalization Programs. For our community behavioral health partners, government partners, and provider partners, this means patients will continue to receive needed treatment in a format that makes sense given the COVID-19 pandemic. It also means less crowded emergency rooms and more options to help our state psychiatric hospitals manage appropriate census levels.
Here is how the telebehavioral program will serve our patients:
- Deliver expert clinical care to those that are unable to continue in person treatment
- Utilize WebEx Meetings, a secure HIPAA-compliant platform that is easy to use for both the provider and patient
- Ensure patient confidentiality with an informed consent for treatment
- Establish a plan for psychiatric emergencies that may present during a telehealth visit reviewed with every patient before each session
- Reduce potential exposure to viral pathogens, while maintaining patients’ connection to others
- Evaluation for clinical appropriateness will include staff training and technology set up for patients
Patients that are appropriate for virtual group setting will need:
- Access to laptop, tablet, or mobile device
- Ability to download the WebEx Meetings app
- Ability to navigate tele-platform and cell data or WIFI access