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Post-COVID-19 Readiness Checklist for Resuming Surgery | ACS 16 May, 2020

As hospitals are preparing for the resumption of elective surgery, research shows that patients have many questions and specific uncertainties about the safety of undergoing elective operations in hospitals, regardless of whether COVID-19 patients are being concurrently treated in the same facility.

Patients are increasingly requesting information about their facility's readiness for safely performing surgery, and they trust their surgeon to deliver safe and high-quality care, as well as provide information on how they will do so. To address this, the ACS has developed this checklist to help surgeons ultimately communicate to their patients the important items they want to know.

How should this checklist be used? First, surgeons should verify which of the checklist items are present in their facility. Some items won't be needed or appropriate to your facility. On the other hand, some items might need to be developed. The final list, of course, will be individualized to a facility's local resources, prevalence rates, etc.

Second, surgeons can consider communicating to their patients some of the checklist items (e.g. resources, protocols, and policies) in the form of a personal letter, email, or other. In the coming days, the American College of Surgeons will provide a tool kit of materials to help you communicate with patients regarding how they can safely return for surgery they need.

The American College of Surgeons supports our surgical community and patients as we return to surgical care. There are many aspects to building patient trust in post-pandemic care, including assuring that staff are ready, that proper resources are available, and that the facility is safe for delivering high quality patient care. Having these elements in place and transparently and frequently (given the constantly growing knowledge-base) communicating this information to patients will help to support surgical safety during the COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic periods. Reportedly, surgeons communicating the content to their patients will help to create an important level of patient-public assurance.

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