← Return to Tips: Traveling to Mayo to get medical care safely during COVID-19

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Hi @danab @roch @marvinjsturing @lls8000 @lilypaws @jerrynord @fassbinder @leannn @naturegirl5 @seaspray @devehf @ruttgerbay @rosemarya @cmael @karukgirl and @msherfinski
I would like to bring you into this discussion to get your tips on how to protect yourself from COVID-19 while going to the hospital. Some of you have received care during this pandemic, others have been caregivers for someone going to the clinic. Others still are preparing for their first visit to Mayo since the new safety measures.

What precautions did you take while at appointments, in the hotel, getting food, traveling, etc? How are you preparing for an upcoming appointment? As a caregiver, as a patient, what advice would you offer others who are getting ready to step inside a medical facility for the first time since this all started?

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Replies to "Hi @danab @roch @marvinjsturing @lls8000 @lilypaws @jerrynord @fassbinder @leannn @naturegirl5 @seaspray @devehf @ruttgerbay @rosemarya @cmael @karukgirl..."

I have been to Mayo in Florida 5 times since the outbreak. Two times for brain radiation, 2 times for labs and infusion and today for PET/CT scan. They are all wearing masks, finally. I always wear one to protect myself and them. I can only hope that things are truly wiped down properly. As I laid in the machine today I almost had a panic attack wondering who was in the machine before me. My masks have a metal nose fitter so I had to take it off. They put a washcloth on me instead. They do stop you at the entrances, ask you lot's of questions and take your temperature. When I get home I immediately take my shoes off in the garage, clothes go in the hamper, hands washed and hope for the best.

@colleenyoung At this time I have had all my treatment at my local hospital – Sanford in Sioux Falls SD. In the last 8 weeks I have been involved with radiation, ER, I have been admitted to the hospital, the outpatient care center (infusion center), several testing areas, had a tunnel cath put in and have been in several doctors offices in various buildings. All employees wear masks. About 70% of patients wear masks. There are shields in front of all check in desks. I use hand sanitizer everytime I enter a building and everytime I leave. I don't touch any of the door handles. I could take my mask off when I was in my hospital room, but any time they took me out into the hallway to go for a test, I needed to wear my mask. I haven't had to travel, stay in hotels or eat out yet. I am scheduled to go to Rochester in July. We are trying to figure out how to deal with that.

Protocols at the point of care are changing frequently. Call and ask for guidance from a front desk person so you know how to navigate the process as it changes. The last treatment my dad had in Mayo FL (last week), more care professionals were wearing masks. This was comforting to him. Visitors should know that there are signs posted on the road leading into campus that indicate visitors are asked to stay away from the hospital and ER. It's not clear whether visitors are discouraged from accompanying a patient who is receiving outpatient infusions, for example. In the Mangurian building in FL, there is a table set up right by the entrance to query people on their health status, etc. Out of an abundance of caution, I chose to forgo accompanying my dad during his daylong visit. I did not want to be exposed to the virus. Normally I would help him get from labs to in-person clinical encounter to infusion clinic. He is able to handle this on his own for the most part fortunately. I don't know what we would do if he was not able to move under his own power. Perhaps a volunteer would be available to help? Fortunately my dad was able to acquire masks from a local pharmacy. These are hard to come by. It would be nice if Mayo provided PPE to patients with underlying conditions. This may be the case. I did not inquire at the entry checkpoint.

I need to travel back to my home state and return in a week. When I do, I will quarantine for 14 days in a vacation rental. Then I will be available to be the designated driver for the next monthly infusion appointment. Traveling and caregiving is a lot more complicated now. Plan accordingly.

Most other visits are telemed now. This is a huge challenge for both patient and provider. Once the technical hurdles are dealt with, the encounter quality and level of care is just as good as in person from the patient's perspective. We should have been doing this all along.

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