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?

@colleenyoung

@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?

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Thx for your response. I will put in a question in the portal. Right now, it is scheduled for a one day visit unless something turns up (which I hope nothing does). My husband will be the driver and I will be stocking up on wipes, hand sanitizer, food and snacks, and gloves for the trip. It’s 6 hours from our house one-way and since I’m gluten free, I’m used to packing my own food. All the other things will be new additions to my toolkit. If anyone has other ideas, please let me know😊 of course, my trusty iPad will be with me for entertainment, along with a good book!

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@msherfinski

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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@msherfinski, do you know about the free Concierge Services at Mayo Clinic?
The staff at the concierge desk can help with hotel recommendations, according to your wishes of proximity, price and space requirements. They can also let you know about restaurants who are serving during this time and take out options. You can even ask them about fishing as I think you were hoping to get down to the river during your stay. You can contact Concierge Services by email, phone, chat or in person during business hours:

* Phone: 507-538-8438
* Live Chat: https://www.mayoclinic.org/patient-visitor-guide
* Email: concierge@mayo.edu

Lawrence @lmindela can tell you more.

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@colleenyoung

@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?

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Thanks for inquiring. Right now, it is a one day appointment (unless something turns up, which I hope doesn’t). My husband will do the driving (6hours one way) and I will be packing wipes, hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, and food/snacks. I’m used to packing food as I’m gluten food but now I will have other things in my toolkit! Of course, I will have my iPad for entertainment and a good book😊. If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know. I will put a message in the portal regarding any Covid testing.

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@colleenyoung

@msherfinski, do you know about the free Concierge Services at Mayo Clinic?
The staff at the concierge desk can help with hotel recommendations, according to your wishes of proximity, price and space requirements. They can also let you know about restaurants who are serving during this time and take out options. You can even ask them about fishing as I think you were hoping to get down to the river during your stay. You can contact Concierge Services by email, phone, chat or in person during business hours:

* Phone: 507-538-8438
* Live Chat: https://www.mayoclinic.org/patient-visitor-guide
* Email: concierge@mayo.edu

Lawrence @lmindela can tell you more.

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Thanks for the info Colleen! I will give them a call tomorrow.

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@colleenyoung

@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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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?

Hilton hotels & resorts partnered with Mayo Clinic Experts from Mayo Clinic’s Infection Prevention and Control team to advise and assist in enhancing Hilton’s cleaning and disinfection protocols in all their hotels. If you are visiting Rochester and staying at either Doubletree, Hilton Garden Inn or The Hilton Rochester Mayo Clinic area there cleaning protocol is as follows;

1. What cleaning protocols are you following at this time? (We are finding this to be a common question.). We have applied extremely throughout and robust cleaning programs at our hotels. Additionally, we have implemented many key components of the newly released Hilton Corporate Clean Stay Program, providing hospital grade cleaning to our hotel rooms.

All Employees: All team members wear masks while in guest facing areas.

Front Desk:
• Continuous disinfecting of front desk and common touch points.
• Disinfectant of pens (or other materials) after each guest use.
• Guest room key cards that are returned to the front desk are set aside and disinfected before going back into rotation.

Concierge/Executive Lounge:
• Touch points and common areas in Executive Lounge are disinfected hourly.

Guestrooms:
• In-room collateral that cannot be disinfected has been removed (examples: menus, hotel directories, other notifications, etc.)
• Rooms on day of arrival are being disinfected with Ecolab Peroxide Multi-surface clean and disinfectant, a fast acting, hospital grade chemical. This takes place throughout the guestroom and certainly in Hilton's noted 10-high touch point areas (please see attached graphic).
• The efforts above are in addition to traditional housekeeping services.

Public Spaces:
• Public spaces and touch points (hand rails, elevator buttons, guest laundry, etc.) are continuously disinfected throughout the day (multiple times per day).
• Hand sanitizing dispensers have been placed in all entrance points, as well as and common public areas (i.e. elevator banks).

Bell/Transportation:
• Bell staff are required pre-shift screening, which includes taking of temperature. In addition, they are required to wear masks at all times.
• The hotel courtesy vehicles are disinfected between each use.
• Valet parking: Bell staff is required to wear mask and gloves. The guests vehicle is sanitized in areas such as driver seat, steering wheel, door handles, etc.

Available to Guests:
• Disinfectants as well as sterile rags are available for individual guest use (should they wish to take independent precautions).

Housekeeping services are willing and able to accommodate the needs of our guests. Turn down service, switching of guestroom linens and requesting additional supplies are happily accommodated. It is certainly the goal of the hotel to provide our guests the highest level of comfort and security that we are able to.

2. What is the status of your shuttle service and what cleaning procedures are they following?
Bell/Transportation:
• Bell staff are required pre-shift screening, which includes taking of temperature. In addition, they are required to wear masks at all times.
• The hotel courtesy vehicles are disinfected between each use.
• Valet parking: Bell staff is required to wear mask and gloves. The guests vehicle is sanitized in areas such as driver seat, steering wheel, door handles, etc.

CleanStay-Infographic_FS

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To all going to t he hospital. We leave for Mayo on May 17th and staying at the Hilton, knowing it has been cleaned and then when we go to Mayo we have to wear a mask at all times. I will be having a bunch of test done on the 18th. They have my surgery scheduled for June 9th and 11th if they have to go in both sides of my body. No visitor's can be in my hospital room and I still have to wear a mask mine or one of theirs. My husband couldn't understand why he couldn't be there, but I explained that he would be coming in and out and he could bring the virus into me. It's a relief to have it all scheduled. I also have to have a Covid-19 swab done and blood work on June 17th. We have to order food in because no restaurants are open at the Hilton, but I don't know about the Mayo. We just have to be careful and listen to all of their instructions and remember staying 6 feet apart.

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I want to thank all those who gave me information where to stay in the Jacksinville area during my scheduled visit next month.
I was just informed my visit will now be done via video conferencing as my labs and visit data from last year were good. I will save all the information received for my next years trip. Thankyou all again.

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We just got my husband home from the hospital. He had been there since March 9th. MRSA and eventually two heart surgeries, which were likely caused by the MRSA, has left him sixty five pounds lighter, and a whole lot grateful.

I wear a mask whenever I forage for food or medicine. We will have his first heart doctor appointment in one more week. We will have hand sanitizer with us and will wear our masks throughout the process. We have some gloves, but we don't have a steady supply. They are hard to come by. So, I will save them for the home health procedures they have taught me to do.

For deliveries, everyone is instructed to place items on our front porch. I wear a mask even to go to the mailbox. I cannot control how close a neighbor will come up to me. Church is online. Prayer chains connect us daily. The non profit I work for continues to serve the community in spite of restrictions. Safely, of course.

We may have to do all of this for a very long time. Even when things open up, some ways of doing things may be forever changed.

I had to give my husband his antibiotic infusion today. I was scared to death. But because of Covid19, home health has to restrict what they can do.

Love and hugs to all our friends at Mayo Clinic Connect! We can do this. We are resilient.
And we are better together.
Love and light,
Mamacita Jane

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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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@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.

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@marvinjsturing

@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.

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@marvinjsturing, It is good to hear that your hospital is taking good care of you. I have only had to have my routine labs drawn during this coronavirus. I was very pleased with how it was handled.
I am scheduled for mid June appointment in Rochester. I am completely confident that Mayo is taking every precaution to make it safe for us. However it is the 750 mile distance from my home to Rochester that has me concerned. I'm not sure how to judge the safety of lodging or restaurants along the way.
I'll let you know how it goes for us although we are coming from the other direction and starting in Kentucky.
.

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@fiesty76 There you are my girl. Thanks for liking my post. You are a sweety.

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@mamacita

We just got my husband home from the hospital. He had been there since March 9th. MRSA and eventually two heart surgeries, which were likely caused by the MRSA, has left him sixty five pounds lighter, and a whole lot grateful.

I wear a mask whenever I forage for food or medicine. We will have his first heart doctor appointment in one more week. We will have hand sanitizer with us and will wear our masks throughout the process. We have some gloves, but we don't have a steady supply. They are hard to come by. So, I will save them for the home health procedures they have taught me to do.

For deliveries, everyone is instructed to place items on our front porch. I wear a mask even to go to the mailbox. I cannot control how close a neighbor will come up to me. Church is online. Prayer chains connect us daily. The non profit I work for continues to serve the community in spite of restrictions. Safely, of course.

We may have to do all of this for a very long time. Even when things open up, some ways of doing things may be forever changed.

I had to give my husband his antibiotic infusion today. I was scared to death. But because of Covid19, home health has to restrict what they can do.

Love and hugs to all our friends at Mayo Clinic Connect! We can do this. We are resilient.
And we are better together.
Love and light,
Mamacita Jane

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Hi @mamacita What is MRSA? I'm suppose to have a swab done for it since I'm having surgery at Mayo.
Bless you and your husband. You have been through a lot. This Covid-19 had really thrown everybody for a loop, if you know what I mean and then having to deal with health problems on top of it.
I liked what you said though, that we are resilient and we are better together. Love to you, Mamacita Jane

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@sueinmn

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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Thank you so much for this I will be making a 1300mi trip. Leaving to settle at our summer home for a year. Very helpful. I’ll be with another person albeit a poor driver and perhaps drive straight through and not do the hotel stop. Anything else you can add please do.

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I drove from North Carolina to MN with my dog at end of March and here are a few things I did to keep safe on road:

– I packed a bag similar to a diaper bag and had essentials in it: toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfect wipes, baby wipes, gloves, paper towels, mask, Kleenex, etc….
– Packed food and water to have along the trip. Did buy some food and coffee at drive thru, but tried to avoid when possible.
– I used gloves when filling up on gas.
– Used credit cards only, avoid handling money.
– Wore mask when ever left car.
– After using rest room and wash hands, would take couple extra paper towels and use to open any doors on way out.
– Used hand sanitizer when ever I got back into car and before took off mask.

Every state was different as far as what was open.

I did stay one night a hotel. I only took into room what was absolutely necessary for night.

Safe travels

Laurie

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@lilypaws

Hi @mamacita What is MRSA? I'm suppose to have a swab done for it since I'm having surgery at Mayo.
Bless you and your husband. You have been through a lot. This Covid-19 had really thrown everybody for a loop, if you know what I mean and then having to deal with health problems on top of it.
I liked what you said though, that we are resilient and we are better together. Love to you, Mamacita Jane

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Hi @lilypaws MRSA, also known as staph, is a bacterial infection. It's highly contagious, so surgeons will generally asked for a swab prior to surgery so they don't risk spreading it to the inner parts of your body when you are in surgery. I attached Mayo's info page on the infection here so you could read more about it. Hope this helps!
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mrsa/symptoms-causes/syc-20375336

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