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  • Karen McPhail, RN, MSN

Navigating the New Normal- Some Simple Steps and Considerations

During the course of a week I speak with many individuals about health, wellness, and of course now Covid-19. We are all embracing what appears to be the new normal in our country in an attempt to stay well and minimize transmission and risk for all. So how do we prioritize during this time what is an essential appointment or outing? What steps do we take to support safety for ourselves and others while out and about? Today we will attempt to answer these common questions in our blog:

A guide to appointments, accessing care, and maintaining wellness:

  1. Maintaining health and health preventative measure are still very important. Access when you can telehealth for appointments as appropriate. Many appointments do no require on site visits so inquire about this when scheduling to see your health practitioner. However remember that some conditions require an in person visit, such as anything requiring a physical examination, or a formal assessment before treating. Some patients with preexisting conditions develop new or worsening symptoms over time and need to be evaluated onsite. Some of the chronic conditions that often experience changes over time and require this are: hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, or kidney disease. Sometimes it can be difficult to rerevauate changes via telehealth for these circumstances. So under these conditions understand the current covid office policies for your physician office, be mindful, and mask up.

  2. Before necessary onsite appointments call your healthcare provider to obtain information and clearly understand what precautions you need to take during your visit. For example, some health care providers will ask patients to wait in their car and call the front desk to check in upon arrival. Some will ask for a cell phone number to text when it is time to come inside. All will limit the number of individuals entering the office or attending with an individual at one time. Most do not, but if your healthcare provider is having patients wait in their waiting room, try to arrive on time and not early so that you are not sitting in the waiting room for longer than necessary.

  3. In addition to seeking intermittent care for those with emergent or chronic conditions others do require appropriate and safe follow up to maintain health and wellness. Immunizations for children up to 24 months old are also still recommended as usual and critical. Patients receiving cancer treatment and those who are receiving dialysis treatments also critically need to attend their regularly scheduled medical appointments. Some individuals receiving allergy treatment or with asthma or another chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may need to maintain their set schedule also. When in doubt it is always best to reach out to your provider as some other regular health care visits and follow up appointments though perhaps essential in some cases may require careful discussion, consideration, special planning, or care coordination.

  4. So what if you need emergent medical care? Trends are showing that many people are not accessing emergency care appropriately during covid and often delaying access. Do not delay accessing care for emergencies! If someone is having chest pain, signs of a stroke, an allergic reaction, etc call 911 as usual. Delays result in additional complications and increase mortality! Have a covid plan for care and emergencies on hand! Reach out if you need assistance with this! Have masks, disposable gloves, and a small sanitizer accessible for emergencies and near your doorway for quick access and use. Have all your essential medical information together and ready to go in the event that something changes quickly. Be prepared for all scenarios and access emergent care if needed. Again reach out if we can assist with this as we are here to help! With covid, changes can happen fast so all individuals of all ages need to have a plan in place if something emergent strikes! Being prepared gives one peace of mind!

Other general safety precautions when out and about:

  • Remember avoid the 3 C's whenever- closed spaces, crowded places, close contact!

  • Wear a face mask especially while in an office, business, place of worship, or indoor congregate space. Do not touch your mask, eyes, or face when out and about.

  • Limit time inside of a restaurant or business when on outings

  • Consider dining outside if wanting to venture out.

  • Use doors that automatically open, if possible, avoid unnecessary touching!

  • Try not to touch surfaces unless essential and sanitize afterwards.

  • Do not take a lot of items with you only the essentials. Clean all items when returning home. Hand washing is key! Wash well upon returning home from outings! Dispose of or sanitize masks appropriately!

  • Protect others by remaining six feet apart and being again, masked!

  • Try not to stand near anyone who is not following these safety rules!! Remember you are in charge!!!

  • Less is often more - have the essentials on hand always, but do not hoard!

  • Stay safe, mindful, and well!

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