The First Private Teaching Hospital in South Africa, Johannesburg

PATIENT COVID-19 GUIDELINES

Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre (WDGMC) is continuously monitoring information about the novel coronavirus and the associated disease (COVID-19), and we are adapting our care practices to reflect the latest recommendations from the NICD and the World Health Organization.

Receiving Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic

In line with the Government’s lockdown regulations (Level 4), anyone visiting WDGMC for any reason whatsoever must be screened for any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, as well as for any risk of exposure. We will screen you for COVID-19. This screening includes asking you:

  • Do you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat or unexplained loss of taste or smell?
  • Have you had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus? (Close contact means having been within 2 metres of that person for an extended time, or being exposed to their cough or sneeze.)
  • Have you been notified by a public health official that you have potentially been exposed to COVID-19?
  • As far as possible, this screening will be done electronically, and in such cases you will just have to show your clearance message on your phone at our various checkpoints. Where electronic screening is not available, you will be asked to complete a written questionnaire at our checkpoints.

Use of Face Masks by WDGMC Staff

  • All WDGMC staff working where patients are present will wear a surgical, procedural or cloth face mask
  • We recognize that this is a departure from standard infection prevention guidance. However, we find ourselves in extraordinary times, and, given current circumstances, we believe this guidance will help many employees and the public feel more comfortable. Our knowledge regarding COVID-19 is rapidly expanding, and the situation and degree of

Should visitors be wearing masks?

  • Visitors are prohibited in the hospital, except in certain circumstances. If a visitor is allowed in as an exception, they must wear a mask. If a visitor develops symptoms while on the premises, that person must be asked to leave.

Should all patients be wearing masks?

  • Patients, including those with symptoms suggesting possible COVID-19 or other respiratory illness, must wear their own cloth mask. Where this is not available, the hospital will provide one. Patients do not need to wear a mask when inside their room, but should wear a mask during transport or when leaving their room.  Appointments and Procedures

Appointments & Procedures:

We are updating some appointment and procedure practices to help lessen the spread of the new coronavirus and COVID-19.

Before You Arrive

  • Call your doctor’s office the day before your appointment.
  • If possible, please come alone to any appointments. Do not bring family members or friends unless you need assistance. Especially, do not bring anyone who has a cough, a fever or shortness of breath.
  • Patients staying in the hospital are encouraged to bring their digital devices, such as a mobile device, tablet or laptop, so they can connect virtually with their loved ones during their stay.
  • If hospital patients need items brought from home, they can only be essential items, such as hearing aids, glasses, dentures, communication devices (mobile phones, laptops, chargers), and small, inexpensive spiritual or religious items. The items may be dropped off the hospitalmain reception.
  • We know these times can be stressful and scary. We encourage that, when speaking with our staff members and others around you that you try to remain calm and civil. We are working to provide you and your loved ones with safe, compassionate care.

Visiting Hours

Under normal circumstances, WDGMC welcomes our patients’ visitors 24/7. We know in-person visits provide support and reassurance for patients and families alike. We pride ourselves on being a patient- and family-centred organization

But the COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult time for all of us. Times have changed quickly and dramatically due to the virus. As a patient-centred hospital, we must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this disease and protect our patients, staff and visitors.

When you follow our policy, you are taking an active role in keeping your loved one safer, while also supporting the well-being of other patients and staff.

For adult inpatient facility, no visitors will be permitted except under specific circumstances, and by prior approval from the WDGMC management team. The exceptions are:

  • End-of-life care: Two visitors are allowed at a time. Other family members need to remain outside of the facility to rotate in special circumstances
  • One visitor for accompanying patients for hospital discharge
  • One visitor for patients undergoing emergency surgery
  • No visiting allowed unless under exceptional circumstances identified by the treating doctor, and then only with permission of the WDGMC hospital management.

For paediatric inpatient facilities – We must further restrict visitation to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to our patients and staff:

  • Only ONE parent / primary caregiver may stay with the child
  • Parent / caregiver will have to stay in the patient room, or at the bedside
  • Parent / caregiver may not walk around the ward and congregate together
  • Parent / caregiver may not leave the ward to visit the coffee shop
  • If the parent / caregiver is unwell, consider nominating another family member to stay with the child. This family member must be the same person throughout the child’s hospital stay.
  • A clean mask will be given to parent / caregiver daily for their protection. This should be worn at all times.

How can I support my family member?

We encourage phone and video visits. Our staff can help set this up.

How long will this visitor policy last?

We cannot predict exactly how long active transmission of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 might last, so we must wait and monitor its progress before we can make changes to the visitor policy.

The following guidelines apply to all patients within the hospital:

For all outpatient appointments:

  • One visitor will be permitted to accompany a patient to facilitate care or treatment such as an ambulatory visit, procedure or same-day surgery.
  • Visitors are not allowed in our ambulatory care units where care is being delivered to potentially immunocompromised patients. Visitors can wait in the car.
  • We encourage family, friends and loved ones to use electronic devices and apps to keep in contact with patients.

Access to the hospital and consulting rooms:

WDGMC has closed some entrances and parking areas to patients and visitors for the time being. We are doing this so we can protect the health of all patients and hospital staff as we continue to help reduce the spread of the new coronavirus and COVID-19. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Pharmacy

  • The hospital Pharmacy will only be dispensing medication to hospital inpatients and for take home medication on discharge. The retail section of the pharmacy will be closed to out - patients and walk-in trade until further notice.