Our health, and the health of our loved ones, is essential. COVID-19 has brought that into sharp focus for all of us.

As restrictions have changed month to month, we understand that everyone in New Jersey is trying to stay safe by remaining at home, wearing facemasks, washing hands more frequently and practicing social distancing. Thank you for taking these measures and helping to slow the spread. But we also want to ensure that you keep yourself and your family safe from more than just the coronavirus.

Now is the time to be proactive about your health and keep those scheduled appointments or procedures, especially for those with conditions requiring close monitoring.

Preventive screenings, as well as diagnostic blood, lab and imaging and other non-emergency medical care, are critical to staying healthy. Delaying care until we get an “all clear” on this pandemic puts you at risk. It is vital to get the right diagnosis or treatment from a medical professional early, so potential complications don’t turn into more serious matters. Too many times, we’ve encountered patients in the Emergency Department who could have received care before it became an emergency.

These are unprecedented times. In surveys, 75 percent of people in the U.S. say they are concerned about the risk of COVID-19 infection in hospitals. We understand, and that’s why your doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals take very seriously the importance of safety and cleanliness to create a trusted healthcare environment. In New Jersey, we are proud to say our hospitals are ranked eighth in the U.S. for patient safety, according to the national healthcare quality group Leapfrog. We want patients to know that our hospitals, outpatient centers, medical offices and clinics are still secure places dedicated to patient health and safety. New Jersey has been an early leader in successfully caring for both their COVID-19 patients along with other patients, using all measures to keep safety at the forefront.

Some of those measures are tried-and-true, like social distancing, facemasks and health screenings for all who enter our doors. You’ll see those efforts evident throughout our facilities. But what you may not see are a long list of other safety measures, including reconfigured spaces to prevent virus transmission, contactless checkins for procedures, ultraviolet light to disinfect surfaces and fogging robots to disinfect entire rooms.

Here’s something else we see in the surveys of people who had medical appointments or procedures postponed in those initial days of COVID-19: More than one-third have already gone back to receive the care they needed, and another 25 percent have their care scheduled within the next 30 days. We’re heartened to see those individuals make their health a priority, but as Emergency Department physicians and nurses, we won’t rest until we see all of those patients returning and putting themselves – and their health – first. Because in uncertain times, one thing is sure: Your health is a priority.

Source: Nurse Talk – Star Ledger Health Section, September 2020