Frequently Asked Questions About Elective Procedures

Is it safe to have elective surgery at Swedish Hospital?

Yes. We understand your concerns about possible exposure to the virus and take them very seriously. Please be assured that Swedish Hospital has worked diligently to refine processes for elective surgery and other procedures to be as safe as possible for both patients and staff.

How are surgeries prioritized?   

Your surgeon prioritizes your procedure based on an objective scale of urgency. This is then reviewed by a committee so that procedures can be scheduled according to priority level and availability. Surgeries may also be prioritized according to available resources at that time. If your procedure requires you to be hospitalized or in intensive care afterward, then your procedure may be delayed until those resources are available and safe.

How will I be notified about my scheduled surgery?

The office of your surgeon or the physician performing your procedure will contact you directly to schedule your surgery or procedure. If you have not been contacted and are anxious to have your procedure scheduled, please contact your physician to inquire.

What do I need to do to prepare for my surgery or procedure once it’s scheduled?

The office of your surgeon or physician performing your procedure will give you specific, detailed instructions to prepare you for a safe surgery or procedure.

You will be tested for COVID-19 72 hours (three days) before your procedure as part of your pre-surgery preparation. You will need to self quarantine from that time until the time of your procedure. You will also need to see your primary care physician in person prior to your procedure for a full physical exam. 

You will also be called by the surgical department to give you additional information about the day of your procedure (time to arrive, etc). They will also give you a number to call when you arrive on the day of your procedure. PLEASE save this number to your phone so that you have it on-hand on the day of your procedure.  

What should I do on the day of my procedure?

On the day of your procedure, you should call the front desk to let them know you have arrived. We are only allowing six people in the waiting room at any given time. If the waiting room is full, you may be asked to wait in your car or outside until you are told it is safe to come up.   

You will not be allowed to have anyone accompany you to the waiting room. There are very few exceptions to this and should be discussed prior to the date of your surgery with the preoperative staff.

You should wear your own mask into the building. You will need to have your temperature checked at the door and will be given a fresh mask for your visit.

Will I be able to bring family and friends with me on the day of my surgery or procedure?

We ask that each patient arrive alone on the day of their surgery or procedure, if possible. This is to keep all our patients and team members safe. If you need a companion to assist with your check in, only one visitor per patient will be allowed. 

We will keep your loved one involved by phone throughout your hospital stay, including contacting loved ones with your recovery status and when you’re is ready to be picked up. For the visitor to enter our facility, they will need to wear a mask and pass our screening process. A member of our team will review instructions with you prior to your surgery or procedure.

Do I need to be tested for COVID-19 before my procedure?

Yes. All patients presenting for elective procedures are being tested for COVID-19 72 hours before their procedure. This testing is being arranged by the hospital and may be coordinated with your primary care physician or surgeon.

How will I get my results?

If your results are negative, a member of our team will call you to share pre-operative instructions. If your results are positive, a physician will call you to evaluate your condition and provide advice on your lab results. 

What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

You will be notified of your positive result and your elective surgery will be cancelled. If you develop symptoms, you should call your primary care provider to be assessed. You will not be allowed to re-schedule your procedure for two weeks after the date of your positive test.

Do I need to be re-tested prior to my surgery if I tested positive in the past?

No, you will not need to be retested if you have tested positive in the past. Results can remain positive for up to six weeks, but you should not be infectious after 14 days.

Are the hospital staff tested for COVID-19?  

It is impractical to test all hospital staff for COVID-19 if they are asymptomatic; however, rest assured that all hospital staff are well-educated in the need for physical distancing, frequent hand-washing and sanitizing, masking, gowning and gloving.  They are supplied with adequate Personal Protective Equipment to keep themselves protected and to protect the patients that they come in contact with.  

Staff are screened for temperature and symptoms twice a day, and not allowed to work if they have any symptoms that would suggest possible infection with COVID-19, or if they have been in close personal contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Our staff takes its responsibility to our patients very seriously to ensure that we can continue to care for our patients safely.

Are there new sterilization processes in place?

The pre-surgical holding area is physically distanced from other patients. Patients who are coming in from home and have been tested and are negative for COVID-19 will not be in the same area as a patient who has not been tested or is positive for COVID-19. Staff will be masked, gloved and will wash/sanitize their hands between each interaction.

There are enhanced cleaning protocols in our hospital, in our procedural areas and in between procedures to keep our patients and staff safe.Procedural suites are thoroughly cleaned between every procedure and procedures are spaced out to allow time for enhanced cleaning processes.

Sterilization processes are the same and have always been effective against all known viruses and bacteria. This includes COVID-19. Any instruments/ equipment used for your procedure are sterilized as always.