SOUTHBRIDGE, MA – As of Monday, May 18, patients who arrive in a car to the Emergency Department (ED) at Harrington Hospital in Southbridge will be directed through a new “curbside triage” process. This new process allows patients to avoid gathering in a common space with others in the traditional ED waiting room, greatly reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 while the virus remains a threat. Protocols for patients who arrive at the ED by ambulance will remain the same.
Public Safety will greet patients who arrive in a car to a triage nurse. The triage nurse will then screen, register and direct the patient to a dedicated ED Triage parking space. Once there, staff will come to the car to conduct the initial check-in and patient registration process, and a nurse will conduct an initial evaluation of symptoms.
As is the case during normal ED operations, patients with serious life-threatening symptoms will be taken into the hospital for immediate care. Patients with less serious symptoms will remain in their cars until a private exam room is available, if one is not available immediately. Patients have the choice to come in and wait inside if they prefer.
“We believe this will help to ease fears about coming into the ED, as it virtually eliminates any risk of coming into contact with COVID-19 while awaiting care with other patients in the ED waiting area,” said Ed Moore, President & CEO at Harrington HealthCare System.
“We want to remind and urge people not to put themselves or their loved ones at risk needlessly,” Moore said. “We hope that the measures we’re taking at our Southbridge ED and all across our system will assure people that they can safely return to getting all the healthcare they need, whether it’s emergency care or routine preventive care. Coronavirus is far from the only threat to one’s health, and in fact you’re far more likely to suffer negative consequences from an untreated chronic condition than you are to contract coronavirus while receiving the healthcare you need.”
The implementation of the Curbside Triage will be rolled out in the Harrington HealthCare Emergency Department at Webster in the coming weeks. Further information about emergency care services and coronavirus precautionary measures at Harrington Healthcare System is available at harringtonhospital.org
Harrington HealthCare System is a comprehensive regional healthcare system serving more than 25 communities across south central Massachusetts and northeastern Connecticut. The system includes Harrington Hospital in Southbridge, Harrington HealthCare at Webster and three additional major medical office buildings: Harrington HealthCare at Charlton, Harrington HealthCare at 169, also in Charlton, and Harrington HealthCare at Spencer; Harrington Physician Services, our primary care and multi-specialty physician group; UrgentCare Express at Harrington in Charlton and Oxford; The Cancer Center at Harrington in Southbridge, and the region’s largest Behavioral Health programs for mental health and substance use.