Frequently Asked Questions for Patients
Is the hospital clean and safe?
Our hospital is clean and safe -- just like it always has been. One of the core elements of properly managing infectious diseases is the cleanliness of our physical facility. We partner with a national environmental services vendor to keep our hospital current on the most effective cleaning and disinfection protocols available in healthcare today. We clean ALL equipment, reception and waiting areas, restrooms, chairs, door handles, carts, call systems, TV remotes, telephones throughout all departments of the hospital and other hard surfaces regularly through the day before applying an EPA-registered hospital-grade disinfectant. Our environmental services team thoroughly cleans and disinfects all surfaces when a patient is discharged from a surgical suite or patient room. The air systems are inspected, tested and serviced on a regular basis by our qualified technicians. We provide proper air exchanges in accordance with all healthcare regulations.
Do you have the supplies and capacity to accommodate my procedure?
Our clinical team will conduct a daily "go/no-go" meeting in which they will review crucial supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE), medications, blood, space and staffing to ensure that we have enough to comfortably care for those undergoing elective/non-urgent procedures AND accommodate our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.
Do you have enough staff to resume elective/non-urgent procedures?
Our team regularly monitors staffing levels to ensure a safe environment for all patients, providers and employees. In addition, we screen all employees daily for COVID-19 symptoms. We are confident that we have the appropriate staff and providers to resume elective and non-urgent procedures while also accommodating our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.
Will my experience be the same as in the past?
Your experience in our facility may look a little different than in the past, but this is because we have new processes and procedures in place to further protect your health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What should I expect during my procedure?
Upon arrival at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions and provided with a mask (if you do not already have one). If you have your own mask or bandana to cover your mouth and nose, you can wear that.
We have transitioned to zero visitors. When you arrive, you will park and enter through the main entrance of the hospital (off Fort Missoula Road). We will gather the contact information (name and phone number) of your family member/spouse/friend/caregiver upon arrival. We collect this information so we can follow up with them to provide an update after your procedure and the surgery staff share post-operative instructions as well as letting them know to pick you up at the same location you arrived.
You are going to be asked COVID-19 screening questions multiple times by multiple people, up until you are admitted for your procedure. You may get tired of these questions, but we assure you they are for your health and safety, and that of our staff.
You may never see the faces of your care team members under their protective equipment. We do regret this, as the personal connections we have with our patients and community are what keep us going. However, this is an important precaution we are taking to protect you and our clinical staff.
What questions will I be asked during the screening?
The questions are part of our standard COVID-19 screening process and include asking if you have....
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Exposure to someone who has tested positive
- Recently tested
Whenever you are asked, please answer these screening questions honestly. If your procedure has to be postponed, it will be just that: postponed. It does NOT mean it will be canceled, and we will work with you to reschedule as soon as possible.
How will I prepare for my procedure?
If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be asked to practice quarantine behaviors for seven (7) days to minimize potential exposure prior to your procedure. This means going a step further from social distancing -- trying only to leave your home for critical needs such as groceries or going to the pharmacy. If you need to leave for an essential purpose, you must wear a mask. You will also be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure as an additional precaution.
If you are having an imaging procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.
Will I be tested for COVID-19?
If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure. Your provider will contact the surgery department to schedule your surgery, send any pre-admission surgical testing orders and place the order for the COVID-19 test. Your surgeon's office will then let you know your surgery date along with the date(s), time(s) and location(s) for obtaining your COVID-19 test and pre-admission surgical testing. It is likely your COVID-19 test and pre-admission surgical testing will be on different dates and in a different location. All patients undergoing surgery complete pre-admission surgical testing either by phone or in-person. If your COVID-19 test happens to be positive your surgeon or a representative from the surgeon's office will notify you, inform you that your procedure will be postponed, and provide you with instructions related to your care. If you are having an imaging procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.
Can my family member/spouse/friend/caregiver come with me to the facility?
To limit the spread of infectious illnesses, in-person visits will not be allowed. We encourage patients and their families to communicate through phone and video chat. iPads are available for patients to use upon request. Exceptions can be made for:
- Pediatrics: 2 visitors allowed; 1 at a time
- Women & Newborns: 1 visitor (must be the same person for the entire stay)
- NICU: 2 parents allowed (both can visit at the same time)
- COVID-19 positive and rule out patients: 2 immediate family members allowed at a time, must be teh same 2 for the entire time
- Non-COVID: Up to 6 immediate family members allowed, 2 at a time
- Cognitive issues or developmental delays: 1 person may be allowed (per care team discretion)
Patients who have mobility or cognitive issues being seen in an outpatient clinic may only be accompanied by one adult support person. All patients and approved visitors will be required to wear a cloth face covering or will be provided a mask at the door. We will continue to screen everyone who enters our facilities for symptoms consistent with COVID-19, per CDC guidelines.
What happens when I arrive for my procedure?
When you arrive at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions and provided with a mask. Upon entering, you will register for your procedure and a nurse will come to the registration wating room to escort you to the pre-operative / pre-procedural area.
Will I be treated near COVID-19 patients?
We are not performing elective/non-urgent procedures on COVID-19 positive patients at this time.
All patients who test positive for an infectious disease, including COVID-19, are isolated for treatment in accordance with the Montana Department of Health & Human Services (MT DPHHS) and CDC guidelines.
If I have additional questions about my procedure, who should I contact?
If you have any questions about your procedure, call your medical provider's office or our pre-admission testing clinic at at (406) 327-4035.