While residents of New Jersey were once encouraged to stay at home during the peak of the COVID pandemic, many hospitals are reminding patients of the importance of staying on top of their health and resuming their health care treatment now that coronavirus cases have subsided in New Jersey. And Deborah Heart and Lung Center, NJ’s only specialty heart, lung and vascular hospital can’t reiterate that message enough.

“New Jersey was hit hard by the pandemic and our hospital responded immediately and proactively by converting rooms to negative pressure areas, securing an extensive range of PPE, and adhering to a broad range of safety and sanitization measures to ensure a safe experience for our patients and staff,” said Richard Kovach, MD, director of the Interventional Cardiology Program at Deborah Heart and Lung Center. Having successfully navigated the pandemic, he said, “we’re now reminding patients to resume scheduling their appointments with us because they can compromise their health and well-being by not keeping up with routine check-ups, necessary procedures, and scheduled reviews of their vital signs and medications.”

“Your Health Matters”

At Deborah Heart and Lung Center, which treats patients with such chronic conditions as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), high blood pressure, and associated co-morbidities, specialists worry that patient delays in addressing their health care needs could exacerbate circumstances for an already-vulnerable population.

“For example, a patient with high-blood pressure who stops seeing their specialist and continues without proper medical management may find that their hypertension can quickly turn into something more serious,” shared Renee Bullock-Palmer, MD, Cardiologist at Deborah Heart and Lung Center.

“Our infectious disease specialists have provided expert oversight and we’re proud to welcome patients back to an extremely safe environment where we vigilantly adhere to social distancing, masking of staff and patients, and screening of patients with questionnaires and temperature checks,” Dr. Bullock-Palmer said. “We also adhere to universal precautions for cleaning and sanitizing our medical facility following all federal and state health guidelines and utilize professional electrostatic cleaning equipment to further stop the spread of germs.”

“Virtual telemedicine visits are always an option if you can’t come to the hospital for an appointment, but either way, we don’t want patients to start getting sicker,” she said of the importance of managing chronic conditions, especially in light of the upcoming seasonal onset of flu and the potential resurgence of the pandemic this fall.

According to Dr. Bullock-Palmer, “there’s mounting scientific and medical evidence that patients with underlying chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or COPD are more at risk of getting sicker from COVID-19,” she said. “However, if your conditions are well-managed and your immune system is stronger, you may have a better chance of avoiding severe illness from this infection.”

For all of those reasons, Dr. Bullock-Palmer urges anyone who’s put off going to the doctor out of fear of exposure to COVID-19 to make an appointment. “It’s time to connect with your physician, because your health matters,” she said.

A Safe and Positive Experience

Founded in 1922, Deborah Heart and Lung Center was the first hospital in New Jersey to perform open heart surgery in 1958 and has since become a renowned specialty hospital treating heart, lung, and vascular conditions as well as associated co-morbidities related to wounds, obesity, and more. As the largest cardiology center in Burlington County, Deborah Heart and Lung Center serves patients from throughout the Garden State and the metro Philadelphia area. In 2019, Deborah Heart and Lung Center became affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute, further elevating cardiovascular care for patients in the region. The Cleveland Clinic heart program is U.S. News & World Report’s No. 1 ranked program for cardiology and heart surgery for the past 25 years.

As part of their commitment to ‘Safety First,’ patients at Deborah Heart and Lung Center can also expect the utmost of safe and positive experiences. The center’s extensive in-house staff of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, pulmonologists, and other specialists work collaboratively to develop the best care plan for each patient

“There’s an unknown aspect to COVID, but a chronic health condition is a known risk that needs to be managed. We encourage our patients to make an appointment with their doctor, address their known condition, and rest assured that we’re doing everything we can to minimize the risk of COVID, said Dr. Kovach.”

Learn how Deborah Heart and Lung Center is keeping you safe: https://demanddeborah.org/safety-first/.

Source: https://demanddeborah.org/articles/delaying-medical-care-can-have-consequences/