> Skip repeated content

What to Expect During Your Visit to HSS

The safety of everyone who comes to HSS is our first priority. Please see some common questions and answers that can help explain how we are keeping you safe during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Can someone come with me to my outpatient appointment?

The health and safety of our patients, visitors, and employees remains our top priority. At this time, visitors will not be permitted to accompany adult patients to their appointment, unless special assistance is required. Pediatric patients 21 years of age or younger may have one designated visitor. During the appointment, we encourage patients to keep in contact with their loved ones through virtual means, including Skype, FaceTime and/or phone. Staff will assist patients if needed.

How is HSS screening patients before their appointments?

For the safety of all our patients and staff, we are doing several rounds of screening before patient appointments. Before arriving, all patients are screened for COVID-19 symptoms by phone. 

When you arrive, we will check your temperature and ask you to complete another screening questionnaire.

We are also limiting the number of entrances to ensure that all patients are screened before they enter our facilities. 

Are doctors, nurses and other staff screened for COVID-19 before starting work?

All staff members, including doctors and nurses, are required to do a temperature check and self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and are advised not to come to work if they do show any signs of illness.

What kind of personal protective equipment (PPE) will staff be wearing?

All clinical staff will be wearing masks and eye protection (e.g., goggles, face shield). Other staff, such as registrars, will be wearing masks. This is in alignment with all current guidelines from New York State, New York City and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Will you provide me with any protective gear?

We will provide you with a surgical mask when you arrive at HSS if you don’t already have one. We also ask that you use our hand hygiene stations when you arrive and whenever asked to do so by a staff member.

What can I do to limit the time I spend in the waiting room? 

We have taken several steps to limit the time patients spend in waiting rooms. We have also made changes to limit the number of people you will need to interact with as well as the objects you will need to touch.

  • You will be asked to complete your paperwork electronically before you arrive for your appointment. Please make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. You may also receive a phone call to see if you need any help completing this information ahead of your visit. 
  • You will receive a text message notifying you when we are ready for you to enter the building.
  • Rather than checking out, you can leave immediately after your visit. Your doctor or their office staff will call you to discuss next steps. 

How are you cleaning exam rooms and other spaces?

All clinical areas are continually cleaned to the highest standards. Indeed, our infection control policies set the standard for others to follow. Here is how we are cleaning individual spaces:

Examination and Inpatient Rooms

  • wiping down all tables, surfaces, counters, controls, equipment and monitors with electrostatic EPA-approved disinfection spray technology after every patient visit
  • disposing of all trash, regulated medical waste and paper products in dispensers after every patient visit
  • removing any unnecessary objects or equipment  

Waiting Rooms

  • removing or reconfiguring furniture to ensure there is enough space for social distancing
  • adding hand hygiene stations throughout 
  • regular cleaning with approved disinfection spray

Will you test me for COVID-19 before my surgery? 

Yes, all patients will be tested for COVID-19 ahead of surgery. This ensures your safety and the safety of our staff.  

Presurgical screening will include a chest X-ray and a blood test to look for COVID-19 antibodies. On the day of surgery (or the day before), you will receive a nasopharyngeal swab test (done with a cotton swab in the nose) to test for COVID-19 virus. We will help you arrange this testing. 

If we determine you are COVID-positive, you will be asked to reschedule your procedure for a later date.  

If I’m having surgery, can I have visitors?

Beginning with surgery scheduled for May 27, all adult patients having inpatient or same day (ambulatory) surgery will be allowed one (1) designated visitor over 18 years of age. Without exception, visitors who do not pass the screening process including a temperature check will not be permitted to enter the hospital. Visitors will be provided a mask to be worn at all times and will be asked to perform hand hygiene.

In inpatient areas, the visitor shall remain in the patient room at the patient’s side for the duration of the visit which will be limited to 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. In same day procedure areas, each visit will be limited to patient arrival through the intake process for a maximum of one hour.

Visitors are not permitted for patients receiving aerosolized procedures including nebulizer treatments, high flow oxygen and Bipap, or testing positive for COVID.

Accommodations will be made for palliative care, end of life, and patients with medical conditions requiring physical, emotional, or guardianship need. Need will be determined on an individual basis by Service Excellence, Security, Pediatric and/or Nursing Leadership. Visiting hours for those who meet the exceptions above are from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm.

HSS may suspend visitation at any time.

Is ‘social distancing’ maintained in inpatient rooms?

Yes. A limited number of private rooms is available; social distancing is maintained for both patients and visitors in dual-occupancy rooms.

Will someone be allowed to pick me up when I leave? 

Yes, your loved ones can pick you up from the front entrance of hospital when it is time for you to return home. 

Will I still be able to have my postsurgical appointments and physical therapy? Can I do them virtually?

Postoperative care, such as X-rays and other imaging tests and physical therapy, is critical to your recovery. You will be able to come to HSS in person for these appointments. 

Also, you can work with your doctor to create a plan that allows you to receive as much care as you want and are able to have virtually. Together, you can determine if your postoperative imaging is essential and, if so, the best location and timing for this to be done.