Step-by-Step Safety: What It’s Like in Your Apopka ER, Right Now

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“Has my ER in Apopka treated many COVID-19 patients, and would I come into contact with them at my own visit?”

“Do the Apopka ER employees have fresh masks and new gloves every day, and enough personal protective equipment (PPE)?”

“What does care actually look like in the AdventHealth Apopka emergency department right now?”

We heard your concerns in April and May. We want to answer each of these questions and more from the perspective of one of our ER doctors, to give you a glimpse of what our daily operations look like now, in June, at the AdventHealth Apopka emergency department. Because your peace of mind matters to us just as much as protecting you during your visit.

What to Expect in Your Apopka ER Right Now, and How Our Team Protects You

We know that medical emergencies are stressful at any time, and the recent pandemic may have heightened your fears about going to the ER in Apopka. But we don’t want you to have to imagine what your care at the Apopka ER will look like, or hesitate to get care when you need it.

Miles Bennett, DO, FACEP and Emergency Department Medical Director of AdventHealth Apopka and Winter Garden, explains what a visit to our emergency department is like right now and what to expect when you come in.

You and Your Apopka ER Doctors Have Lived Through the Pandemic, Together

Your Apopka ER medical team has served our community tirelessly throughout the pandemic, and has been committed to offering safe, compassionate care to every patient, every step of the way. Just like our emergency department as a whole, our doctors have each taken extra safety precautions with every patient — and for their own families, too.

“I’ve had to be extra careful at home,” Dr. Bennett says, “I have a daughter with significant health problems, so in public, we always carry hand sanitizer and keep our distance, but it’s been hard to not be able to visit our friends or have gatherings.”

But Dr. Bennett also looks forward to the future. “I feel hopeful for two big reasons: Most people are recovering from COVID-19, and everyone is working together to keep us all safe.”

“We’re starting to get back to normal. Even though it’s a new normal, we’re coming back from this together, stronger.”

What Happens When You Arrive

Your safety comes first at our ED. “When I arrive at work, the first thing I see is our staff screening all health care providers and patients. Everyone has their temperature checked, answers screening questions, receives a fresh mask and is given hand sanitizer,” Dr. Bennett says.

Separate Care for Anyone With COVID-19 Symptoms

All health care providers, patients and visitors are screened daily for fever and before entering our ED. Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms receives care in an entirely separate area of our building, ensuring a successful quarantine and everyone’s safety.

We’re Stocked With Personal Protective Equipment

Everyone must wear a mask, and all providers must wear PPE. As you arrive, our team will provide you with a clinically certified mask, as we have ample supplies of protective equipment.

“We prepared for a higher peak on our surge period of the virus, but we didn’t reach it in Apopka,” Dr. Bennett explains, “so we have more than enough supplies to protect our team members, guests and visitors with fresh, new equipment every day. It’s refreshed as often as necessary, so no one is having to stretch the use of their masks, for example. Even if a surge happens in the near future, we’ll be ready.”

Our Doctors Feel Protected at Work

Even so, we know many Apopka residents might be still skeptical about coming to the ED. Take it from Dr. Bennett: “It’s challenging to reassure people when the news makes everything seem so bleak, but I feel safer at work than I do at the grocery store.”

“AdventHealth has gone the extra mile to ensure the safety of our team members and our guests,” Dr. Bennett says, “because I feel safe in our emergency department, I would entrust my own family to this ED. I know they’d receive the same level of protection and attention that I see my team members offering our patients every day.”

What Our Waiting Room Looks Like

Throughout the past few months and now, the AdventHealth Apopka emergency department has remained diligent in creating a safe and welcoming environment — starting with our waiting area.

A Safe Space for Every Guest

“Despite the pandemic, we haven’t had any issues with crowding, and we have ample room to see each of our guests safely,” Dr. Bennett says about our waiting room.

To help you maintain social distancing in our waiting rooms, we’ve put seat covers on specific chairs and floor markers 6 feet apart, so you can sit and stand a safe distance from others. We’re also taking extra sanitation measures around the clock in our waiting rooms. Just like our exam rooms and common areas, our waiting areas are sanitized continuously throughout the day, for your protection.

COVID-19 Patients Aren’t in the Waiting Room

“We know our guests are nervous that they might encounter COVID-19 patients when they come to the Apopka emergency department, especially right in the waiting room,” Dr. Bennett explains, “but I assure each patient that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms is cared for in an entirely separate area of our building — you won’t be sitting with them in the waiting room.”

Answering Your Questions: What About COVID-19 Patients at the Apopka ER?

The AdventHealth Apopka emergency department hasn’t seen near as many COVID-19 patients as you might think. “We’ve tested hundreds of patients for the virus, but only a small fraction of patients have tested positive,” Dr. Bennett explains. “We’ve admitted several of these patients, with most making a full recovery and going home. Most patients with symptoms didn’t need to be admitted and were able to return home.”

If you or a loved one has COVID-19 symptoms, rest assured that you’ll receive compassionate care in a separate area of our emergency department. This practice, called patient cohorting, helps us care for anyone with COVID-19 in a separate area, for the safety of all of our patients.

Dr. Bennett emphasizes that, for everyone’s protection, caring for COVID-19 patients means wearing extra PPE than with patients who don’t have COVID-19, and that all gear is sanitized to the utmost safety standards. “We wear facial shields and gowns with any patient who has COVID-19 symptoms, and these PPE items are cleaned and changed between each patient,” Dr. Bennett says.

Your Care Begins With Providers in Protective Equipment

Once you’re registered in our system and our team is ready for you, you'll see a nurse who will review your symptoms, chief complaints, vitals and more. You can rest assured that your nurse and every health care provider you see in our Apopka ER will be wearing PPE, including fresh masks and gloves.

“With all of our guests, we wear a face mask and wash our hands thoroughly before and after each visit,” Dr. Bennett says. “We wear gloves when we’re caring for each person, and these gloves are changed immediately after touching a patient.”

Calming Your Fears, Lifting Your Spirits

Depending on the reason for your visit, you could be seen by an emergency medicine physician, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner — all of whom want to answer your questions, calm your fears and lift your spirits.

“It’s hard for us to know we can’t shake your hand. I’ve had to learn new ways to connect with patients. We’re all human beings, and I miss the human interaction that brings us closer to one another,” Dr. Bennett says.

Talking with your provider will help give them a clearer picture of your health, and then they can get to work to develop a plan of care that best fits your needs and keeps you safe. Your plan of care could include monitoring, observation and X-rays, CT scans, MRIs or labs.

Determining the Best Place for Your Care, and Follow-Up Care

Once any diagnostic testing is completed, our team can determine where the best place for you to receive care will be. You could be treated in our emergency room, transitioned to follow up with primary care outside of the hospital or need further evaluation and care within the hospital. Our caring, experienced staff, like Dr. Bennett, do their best to attend to each patient needs, and keep them and their family informed with progress, updates and care plans.

Emergency care might be the first step in your care. We’ll help you get set up with a primary care doctor if you don’t have one and match you with a provider in our network of care. The AdventHealth network of care means you have quick access to some of the most experienced physicians and specialists in nearly every specialty — all close to home here in the Apopka area.

Don’t Delay ER Care, for Any Reason

We recognize that some Apopka residents are delaying ER care when they need it —and for different reasons. Some people don’t want to come in unless it’s a life-or-death situation. Some people are scared to come in because they don’t want to get sick. Others don’t want to feel alone or cut off from family. And some people would rather give up their spot in the ER to someone who needs it more.

But Dr. Bennett wants to assure you that it’s safe and necessary to come into the ER when you need care — even if it’s not life-threatening — and you’ll be protected when you’re here. And while visitation is limited to protect everyone, the Apopka ER doesn’t restrict all visitors. We also want you to know that while being selfless is admirable, our providers have enough time, space and attention to attend to your personal needs.

“We’re here to address all levels of medical emergencies, from setting a bone to caring for someone who went into cardiac arrest,” Dr. Bennett says. “It’s difficult for us to know that there are people who are really sick at home and not coming in for help. In some cases, people aren’t getting help until it’s too late for us to treat them effectively,” Dr. Bennett says. “Our ER team will protect you and the people who love and support you while you’re here.”

Don’t put your health on hold, especially in an emergency. If you’re not sure whether you or a loved one need immediate care, it’s worth it to stay safe. Don’t hesitate to come see your community experts at the AdventHealth Apopka ER who can assess your needs quickly and safely. For life-threatening medical emergencies, like any possible head or spinal cord injury, accident, heart attack or stroke or shortness of breath, call 911 immediately for the fastest response and medical attention.

Your AdventHealth Apopka ER Team Is Ready to Protect and Care for You

As we adjust to a new normal, Dr. Bennett wants to reassure you that the same care you know and trust hasn’t changed. “Your family can expect to receive safe, compassionate and competent care from our providers and nurses, and a hospital system that loves and cares about you.”

Our entire ER team is ready to help you and your family in a medical emergency. We’re here to meet your needs, protect you from COVID-19 and lift your spirits in as many little ways as we can. Find emergency care near you and learn more about ER care at AdventHealth Apopka, today.

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