Access Now: AORN COVID-19 Clinical Support

Archive June 2020 XXI, No. 6

Ideas That Work: Pre-Op Precaution

A Handy Coronavirus Screening Tool

Red Lion Surgicenter
TEMPERATURE CHECK Front desk representative Jessica takes a patient's temperature in accordance with Red Lion Surgicenter's new COVID-19 screening tool.

Effectively screening patients for COVID-19 is part of pre-op protocols as outpatient facilities across the country slowly begin performing elective procedures again. However, the available information about this virus and its symptoms changes so frequently that it’s tough to stay on top of what you should be checking patients for before they enter your facility. That’s why we developed an easy-to-update COVID-19 screening tool that doesn’t need to be overhauled whenever our screening protocols change. The tool, created in a Word document, includes the most current and critical information about the coronavirus from the CDC, WHO and our state’s department of health ( It also includes straightforward questions that leave no room for interpretation. For instance, we ask all patients, “Have you, or anyone else who has lived in your house within the past 2 weeks, been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or have you had any of the following symptoms …” We then ask about 11 different symptoms associated with the virus such as fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. The greatest benefit of this tool is its ease of use. When the CDC recently added new symptoms, it was easy for us to type them into the document. Even though not all COVID-19 positive patients will present with the symptoms we screen for, we feel the list improves our ability to identify patients who shouldn’t undergo surgery.

Kimberly Rickards, RN, MSN
Red Lion Surgicenter, Philadelphia

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