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COVID-19 and Anesthesia FAQ Updates

August 20, 2020 | 5:58 pm | Info Articles
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These recent months battling COVID-19 have been a “once-in-a-lifetime” event for all of us. Our hospitals have all been affected, and thousands of healthcare workers have been infected. Some of us have been deeply affected personally, and there are those who have dealt with the disease themselves and those who have supported family members in quarantine. By way of “shelter in place” orders, additional strain has been pressed upon working parents within our anesthesiology community, and we have had to field difficult questions from loved ones who are understandably anxious.

COVID-19 and Anesthesia FAQ

Covid-19 and Anesthesia FAQs have been developed in a collaborative effort between the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). General questions are answered as well as topics including Hospital/Facility Administration, Anesthesia Machines and Equipment, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Clinical Care and Wellness.

Click here to view FAQs updated August 4th on the APSF website.

Prioritizing According to Patient Needs and Resources Available

The American Society of Anesthesiologists also shares recommendations for anesthesia management to address patient and health care worker needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. For facilities in areas with growing incidences of COVID-19, reduce non-urgent surgical, diagnostic, and interventional procedures. Urgency of procedures exists along a continuum and those not time-critical should be rescheduled to a date when community transmission is no longer taking place. Time-critical procedures must be prioritized according to patient need and the resources of the facility.

Anesthesiologists and other anesthesia specialists care for patients in many parts of the hospital, in operating rooms and procedural areas, in critical care locations, radiology, endoscopy suites, and in our pain clinics. Through effective planning and implementation, the critical needs of our patients can continue to be met, while protecting the health and well being of all health care staff.

ASA recommends, consistent with the CDC, that an N95 mask be used for protection for aerosolizing procedures that include intubation. Issuance of N95 masks to all clinical anesthesia personnel would be optimal, when integrated with careful reuse following CDC and institutional guidelines. This would include wearing a face shield to protect the N95 mask from large debris.

Click here to view FAQs on the ASA website.

Consistency Means Adapting to Change

There are many contingencies that an organization must consider, including, but not limited to, patient population, community COVID-19 spread, social distancing, equipment availability and type of elective procedure when prioritizing procedures.

Viewers should review these materials with appropriate discretion and make their own determinations as to relevance to their particular practice setting and compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. The APSF and ASA have used their best efforts to provide accurate information and stated that this material is provided only for informational purposes and does not constitute medical or legal advice.

Sources:

COVID-19 and Anesthesia FAQ. apsf.org

COVID-19 FAQs. asahq.org

COVID-19: American Society of Anesthesiologists Recommendations for Anesthesia Management. ascassociation.org