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

Posted by Colleen Young, Connect Director @colleenyoung, Wed, May 6 4:44pm

Medical needs don’t go dormant and wait for the current pandemic to pass. People still need cancer treatment, heart surgery, diagnostic procedures, joint replacements, lung assessments, wound care and compassionate care. Some medical needs can be met through telemedicine, but certainly not everything.

Compassionate care at Mayo Clinic COVID-19

Postponing nonessential appointments and surgeries in March allowed time to increase Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 testing capabilities. Mayo Clinic hospital and intensive care capacity meets and exceeds the current projected needs for COVID-19 patients, due to a revised, smaller expected COVID-19 peak. With these important favorable developments, Mayo Clinic is ready to safely treat patients whose care was delayed, in adherence with federal and state executive orders and guidance. Mayo is also welcoming new patients, and able to offer more phone and video visits to new and established patients. Read more about the new precautions Mayo added to minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission

What can you do to stay safe when:

  • Going to the hospital for appointments
  • Traveling to a hospital out of your local area
  • Staying at a hotel
  • Getting food

What are your tips?

We just made a 1500 mile 3 day trip between our winter and summer homes. To say I was anxious beforehand would be an understatement!
Here are some things we did:
– Called and asked about precautions being taken before reserving our hotel rooms.
– Stocked up on masks (reuseable ones), sanitizing wipes (including several in baggies for our pockets-see below) and pet waste bags (for touching gas pumps.)
– Planned our route to allow stops at rest areas (less people than truck stops) when possible.
– Carried all our own food and beverages & disposable tableware for the 3 day trip, including evening meals to warm up in the hotel. Sanitized refrig and microwave before using. We elected not to try takeout because we had no idea what restaurants would be available.
– Used sanitizer wipes thoroughly in all restrooms and hotel rooms and on surfaces we touch in the car after each stop.
– Wore masks in all rest/truck stops, hotels common areas and elevators.
– Showered and washed our hair before going to bed, and changed all outer clothes each day. Washed and dried all masks each evening.
– Used our own pillows and blankets.

Here are some things we observed:
– Most people were not wearing masks, but many tried to maintain distance, especially retail workers and truck drivers, who seemed aware that the extra exposure to people put them at risk.
– Self-serve areas were mainly closed in truck stops and hotels, a single employee poured coffee, bottled drinks were sold, hotel employees gave out brown bag breakfasts of packaged items in lieu of a buffet.
– Hotels had shields at their desk, or set out paperwork a safe distance from the employee, they were busy sanitizing surfaces between customers.
– Less traffic, except trucks.

So, travel is possible, just not very much fun right now. 7 days later, we survived the trip nicely, and are in day 7 of our self-quarantine, feeling just fine, thank you.

Next week, we will both be heading (locally) to rescheduled lab and medical appointments. I am anxiously hoping thumb repair surgery is in my near future, so I'll be waiting to hear about anyone else's experience in clinic/same day surgery.
Sue

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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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You need to have a Corona test performed before coming to the Clinic for a procedure , doctor visit or anything. Mayo wants the check done by them and will not accept any other testing results from a different facility. You can have a test in Lacrosse which requires a72hour wait, or in Rochester which requires a 48 hour wait. You need to call for appointment. I needed to get a hotel in my case for 2 nights . Tuesday night (for actual test, another night for waiting period) There's no other way. I was just tested in Milwaukee last week but they won't accept that!! Stinks!!!

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Hi, this is @msherfinski again. Does anyone have any advice or tips on dealing with the very foul odor coming out of your Trach ?? Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks!!

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@msherfinski

You need to have a Corona test performed before coming to the Clinic for a procedure , doctor visit or anything. Mayo wants the check done by them and will not accept any other testing results from a different facility. You can have a test in Lacrosse which requires a72hour wait, or in Rochester which requires a 48 hour wait. You need to call for appointment. I needed to get a hotel in my case for 2 nights . Tuesday night (for actual test, another night for waiting period) There's no other way. I was just tested in Milwaukee last week but they won't accept that!! Stinks!!!

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msherfinski -You do not need a test at the Mayo in Florida and they have it outside in their parking lot. I had a PET/CT scan done today. They wanted me to get tested March 30 before my brain radiation and I had not been out of the house in 3 weeks. I told them "no" and that was the end of it. They were not wearing masks at that time and I felt very exposed, so I marked off the days for 3 more weeks before I felt comfortable to leave my house with a mask on.

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@colleenyoung

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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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.

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Hi everyone I have been to Mayo Phoenix twice during this time and I think I was pretty safe. Arrival I decided that I would only take in what I absolutely needed so I opted for cell phone and charger plus Clorox wipes for sanitizing bathroom prior to using(actually I've done that since my bout with cdif last year)
At the main doors they would ask questions about fever, cough and take your temp. Then you get a name tag and can bypass the other blds once you were checked at one.
No one but the patient was allowed in so for caregivers I would plan on staying in your car for short visits or maybe a hotel room for longer days. There was a food truck outside and the better quality portable bathrooms outside. But also you could get items inside and bring them out to your caregiver. I went by myself since I live about 1.5 hours away. I'm actually hoping they can figure out a way to let caregivers in since in jun I have a procedure that requires a driver and I don't want to make my wife stay outside all day.
While getting the treatment the nurses wore masks and I was also masked. I was offered either a room or the chair and I decided on the chair. I did snack while getting the treatment felt confident that I was safe.
I ate every meal in the cafeteria where everyone was taking extra precaution 6 ft apart and face masks by all. I brought my own mask a disposable one that I have from home. I was there for blood work and my monthly IVIG treatment.

The seating areas are arranged with taped seats to maintain 6 ' clearance between people. The dining room was almost empty so it was easy to sit away from others.

Once I was done I proceeded back to the car and wiped down everything I took in and disposed of my mask. Sanitized my hands before getting in the car.
Upon getting home which both my wife and I do whenever we are out in the community(except walking outside) we change our clothes in the laundry room (which is the first room coming from the car) and throw them in the washer. If its grocery day (which my wife does alone) I prepare some bleach water and get ready to wipe down everything she bought again right at the laundry room we toss the bags. Then we also wipe down our cars with the sanitizer anything we have touched. So I think that's everything if you have any questions please ask.
Have a Blessed Day
Dana

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@msherfinski here. I'm sorry , I was replying to the requirements for the Rochester location. I forgot about Florida and Arizona.

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@msherfinski

Hi, this is @msherfinski again. Does anyone have any advice or tips on dealing with the very foul odor coming out of your Trach ?? Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks!!

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@msherfinski, I suggest that you post a new discussion in the Head & Neck Cancer group about managing a Trach, including dealing with odors. Other members of the Head & Neck Cancer group will have helpful suggestions. Post a new discussion here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/head-neck-cancer/

Mark, since you will be staying overnight in Rochester, what precautions do you plan to take regarding food and hotel? Have you thought about calling ahead to find out if they have a fridge or what cleaning and santitizing protocols they are practising?

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I haven't really gave it much thought. Will probably carryout and pack a cooler from home. Traveled from Florida to Wisconsin about a month ago and I didn't have any problems. Haven't gotten a hotel yet. I'll start looking tomorrow.

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I am scheduled to be at Mayo Rochester in mid June for 2 days of appointments and tests for post transplant annual check-up. My biggest concern is getting from home in Kentucky to Minnesota. My husband and I drive the 750+ miles one way, and we break the trip into a 2-day drive with an overnight along the way. And we will do 2 or 3 nights in Rochester before heading back home.
We plan to keep watching the updates about the coronavirus activity in the 5 states that we will be passing thru. And will be checking the CDC and local govt health sites before we make a firm decision. I do feel a bit of an advantage because we do have 30+ days before my appointment. As my appointment time gets closer I will contact my transplant coordinator and share any of my travel/visit concerns with her.

Since I am a transplant recipient of 11 years, my husband and I are already accustomed to safe hygeine practices which are our normal routine. We are both retired and it has been easy for us to stay at home since mid March. When we get home, we will self-isolate.

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I have been to Rochester site multiple times in last few weeks. This week there was more patients then few weeks ago. Some of the employees that were working from home are back to seeing patients in person. Some departments are still only doing virtual appoints, others are starting to see patients at clinic.

The Mayo clinic employees have been going through lot of changes. Some clinic employees have been furlough, others doing job of multiple co-workers, others reassigned to new areas, and some services may not be available. So please remember that the changes due to COVID are stressful to both patients and employees.

Here are few things you will find different then few months ago.
– Before you go, may get call from Mayo employee going over COVID-19 information.
– There is limit on visitors, check web site if bringing anyone with you.
– Arrive early, the screening process will take extra time.
– Parking ramps are open, and you have to pay again. I use charge card because do not want to handle money.
– I do not think valet service is currently available, check mayo site for latest info.
– Bring a mask, all employee and patients are required to wear a mask.
– All elevators have an occupancy limit (5 or 6). So be prepared to wait till there is one with room.
– When enter any clinic building, 1st they will take your temp. Then another person will ask questions if you have been tested, been around anyone exposed to COVID or have list of symptoms. I answered no to all questions. If answer yes, I think you have to have additional screening. You will get a sticker with the day of week to wear while in clinic buildings. .
– You are not required to have COVID test for appointment, but if having procedure or surgery, it may be required.

I try to avoid touching surfaces, but that is impossible, so I use the hand sanitizers located around clinic. One advantage of wearing a mask, it keeps me from touching my face.

One thing I have found helpful is to keep hand sanitizer in car. I use every time I get back in car and before I take my mask off.

Have a safe trip
Laurie

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@msherfinski

You need to have a Corona test performed before coming to the Clinic for a procedure , doctor visit or anything. Mayo wants the check done by them and will not accept any other testing results from a different facility. You can have a test in Lacrosse which requires a72hour wait, or in Rochester which requires a 48 hour wait. You need to call for appointment. I needed to get a hotel in my case for 2 nights . Tuesday night (for actual test, another night for waiting period) There's no other way. I was just tested in Milwaukee last week but they won't accept that!! Stinks!!!

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I have an appointment at the clinic in Rochester on the 21st but they have not informed me I need to come two days early for a Covid test?

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@migizii

I have an appointment at the clinic in Rochester on the 21st but they have not informed me I need to come two days early for a Covid test?

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You may want to check with them

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@migizii

I have an appointment at the clinic in Rochester on the 21st but they have not informed me I need to come two days early for a Covid test?

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@migizii only some tests or procedures may require COVID-19 testing beforehand to ensure safety. These will be arranged at each specific Mayo Clinic location. You may wish to call or post a question on the patient portal to see if your appointment requires COVID-19 testing. It likely doesn't since you've not been informed about this requirement, but it is better to ask to be sure.

See more details here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/covid-19

Migizii, will you be staying for more than a day? What preparations are you considering for your visit?

Liked by robbie1956

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