Helping Keep You and Our Community Safe
At Aiken Regional Medical Centers, patient safety is always our top priority. Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding the extraordinary measures we are taking during the COVID-19 pandemic to help keep patients, physicians, staff and the community safe.
Q: What steps has the hospital taken to help ensure the ongoing health and safety of patients, their families, staff, associates and the community?
Aiken Regional is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and the Aiken County Health Department to evaluate and treat patients and follow appropriate protocols. We have implemented additional precautions and safety protocols for patients, medical staff and associates to help ensure a safe and clean environment, including but not limited to:
- Universal masking of all persons entering the hospital
- Isolation of patients with COVID-19
- COVID-19 testing of patients prior to surgery
- Provision of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and caregivers
- Temperature checks prior to entry
- Screening questionnaires prior to entry
- Limited visitation
- Rigorous cleaning and disinfection
- UV light sterilization
Q: Is it safe to go to the Emergency Department when experiencing a medical emergency?
Yes, the hospital has taken extra measures to help keep everyone safe, including the separation and isolation of any patients suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19. Seeking critical emergency care can be life-saving. Patients experiencing serious injuries or medical symptoms such as chest pain, numbness, difficulty breathing or mental confusion should call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department — it could save your life.
Q: Can a person seeking emergency care in the ER or coming to the hospital for Outpatient Surgery be accompanied by a family member or friend?
At this time, one visitor can stay in the ED waiting area but is no longer permitted once the patient is taken back for treatment. Pediatric patients (under 18 years of age) can be accompanied by one adult/guardian through the entire treatment. Siblings are not permitted.
Please review our visitation guidelines for information on dropping off and picking up patients.
Again, these measures are being taken to help ensure everyone's safety.
Q: When should an individual suspected with or confirmed positive for COVID-19 go to the Emergency Department?
Individuals with mild or moderate symptoms are advised to to contact their primary care physician's office. If symptoms intensify and cannot be managed at home, individuals should call 911 or go to the nearest ER.
Q: What should a person expect upon arrival to Aiken Regional Medical Centers?
All people entering Aiken Regional will be temperature checked, asked a series of COVID-19 screening questions and required to wear a mask.
Visitors, medical staff and associates must screen negative to enter the facility and will be prohibited from entering the hospital if they:
- Have been in contact within the last 14 days with a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19
- Have had a cough or flu-like symptoms, including sore throat, headache, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain or loss of taste or smell in the last 24 hours
- Felt feverish or experienced chills in the last 48 hours
- Had a fever of 100°F or greater in the last 48 hours
Travel history will be queried: those who have had travel outside the country (including cruise ships) within the last 14 days will not be permitted to proceed within the hospital.
Anyone suspected with or confirmed positive for COVID-19 will be separated and isolated. These steps will help prohibit people with symptoms or risk factors from entering the building.
The aforementioned screenings and restrictions include Aiken Regional Medical Centers, Aurora Pavilion Behavioral Health Services, Business and Industry, Cancer Care Institute of Carolina, Diabetes and Nutrition Teaching Center, Hitchcock Rehab Services (adult and children), Palmetto Pediatric Center, Southside Imaging, Surgery Center of Aiken, Women’s Breast Health and Imaging and the Wound Healing Institute of Carolina.
Q: If a patient is required to have a pre-operative clearance visit and pre-admission testing, are virtual options available?
Virtual visits are not available for pre-operative clearance. For information about pre-admission testing including scheduled hours and laboratory locations, please contact your primary care physician's office.
Q: How far in advance should a patient schedule pre-operative testing?
We recommend that patients plan ahead to ensure all pre-operative testing requirements are completed prior to surgery. The physician’s office will provide you with your pre-operative testing date. If you need to cancel or make changes to the date please contact your physician's office.
Q: If a patient tests positive for COVID-19 during pre-admission testing, how will their surgery be affected?
A patient testing positive for COVID-19 will be instructed to self-isolate for 14 days. The hospital will re-test the patient prior to scheduling a new surgery date.
Q: How can patients connect with loved ones before and after surgery?
Patients can utilize virtual options such as phone calls, Face Time, Zoom, Skype and other communications on their mobile device before and after surgery.
Q: What is the hospital doing to help ensure appropriate social distancing?
The hospital has marked 6-foot distances within the common areas of the hospital. Everyone is asked to adhere to social distancing etiquette.
Q: When did elective (non-essential) surgeries and procedures resume at Aiken Regional Medical Centers?
The hospital resumed elective cases Wednesday, April 22 at Aiken Regional Medical Centers and the Surgery Center of Aiken.