Behind the scenes: Life as a Safe Care Navigator

Behind the scenes: Life as a Safe Care Navigator

Health
Christal Todd, at right, is one of the Tidelands Health Safe Care Navigators stationed at each of the health system’s 60-plus care locations.

Christal Todd, at right, is one of the Tidelands Health Safe Care Navigators stationed at each of the health system’s 60-plus care locations.

Safety is job No. 1 for Christal Todd.
As a Tidelands Health Safe Care Navigator, Todd is responsible for greeting patients when they enter Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Myrtle Beach, taking their temperature, screening them for COVID-19 symptoms, providing sanitizer for hand hygiene and providing a face covering or mask if they don’t already have one.
“We’re talking a lot of precautions,” Todd says.
Todd, a medical assistant supervisor, assumed the role of a Safe Care Navigator with the launch of the health system’s “Safe in Our Care” initiative, a series of enhanced safety protocols designed to help protect and reassure patients that it’s safe to get the medical care they need. As part of the comprehensive initiative, Safe Care Navigators like Todd are stationed at all of the health system’s 60-plus care locations.

“Delaying medical care can have serious consequences,” says Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs. “We want people to know it’s safe to get the care they need, which is important because it can help prevent medical conditions from becoming more severe and leading to an emergency department visit or negative long-term health impacts.”

Consistent approach

Todd says some people who come to the practice are concerned about venturing out during the pandemic, while others aren’t. Regardless, they benefit from the same safety procedures.
After undergoing a screening at the entry, patients can choose to wait in their car for their appointment or in the practice lobby.
Everyone is required to wear a face covering or mask in all Tidelands Health care locations, and high-touch surfaces and objects – everything from lobby chairs to doorknobs, pens and countertops – are routinely cleaned and disinfected.

Patient safety is the top priority for Tidelands Health Safe Care Navigators.

Patient safety is the top priority for Tidelands Health Safe Care Navigators.

Reading material and brochures have been removed from the health system’s lobbies, and seating capacity has been limited to align with social distancing guidelines. Plexiglass shields or glass doors are in place at check-in and check-out areas, and the health system has implemented contactless procedures to receive insurance and payment information.
The health system has also enhanced its already-stringent cleaning protocols in exam rooms and procedure areas. Both are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between each patient visit, and the health system is scheduling patient visits at reduced capacity to allow extra time for enhanced cleaning between each patient.
“Everyone is always using hand sanitizer and washing their hands,” Todd says. “We are taking many safety precautions so our patients are protected, and we’re protected.”

E-visits available

Still, Todd says, some people – especially those at high risk of complications from COVID-19 – are reluctant to leave their homes.
However, many of those patients are able to receive the care they need through Tidelands Health e-visits, which are available at physician offices and rehabilitation clinics.

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“When we opened our doors 70 years ago, we made a commitment to provide safe, high-quality care to our patients, and that remains our steadfast focus today,” Dr. Harmon says. “Across Tidelands Health, you’re Safe in Our Care.”

If you need medical care, please call your physician’s office or 1-866-TIDELANDS. In an emergency, call 911.

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