AHA, Others Release Map to Resume Elective Surgeries

April 17, 2020

Today, the American Hospital Association (AHA), American College of Surgeons (ACS), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), and Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) announced they have developed a roadmap to guide readiness, prioritization and scheduling of elective surgeries in order to ensure patients can have elective surgeries safely as soon as possible.

The roadmap provides key principles and considerations to guide healthcare professionals and organizations regarding when and how to proceed with elective surgeries safely.

Roadmap highlights include:

  • Implementing a policy for testing staff and patients for COVID-19, accounting for accuracy and availability of testing and a response when a staff member or patient tests positive.   
  • Forming a committee – including surgery, anesthesiology and nursing leadership – to develop a surgery prioritization policy, which factors in previously canceled and postponed cases, and allot block time for priority cases, such as cancer and living donor organ transplants.   
  • Adopting COVID-19-informed policies for the five phases of surgical care, from preoperative to post-discharge care planning.   
  • Collecting and assessing COVID-19 related data that will be used to frequently re-evaluate and reassess policies and procedures.     
  • Creating and implementing a social distancing policy for staff, patients and visitors in non-restricted areas in anticipation of a second wave of COVID-19 activity.

The organizations concur that healthcare facilities should not resume elective procedures until there has been a sustained reduction in the rate of new COVID-19 cases in the area for at least 14 days. Adequate staff and supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE), beds, ICU and ventilators to treat non-elective patients without resorting to a crisis-level standard of care should be available.

Read more in an AHA press release.