Noyes adjusting to new normal

Chris Potter

DANSVILLE — When the COVID-19 pandemic began to hit locally, the frontline was everywhere — in nursing homes and hospitals, like UR Medicine | Noyes Health.

The Noyes staff tweaked best practices during the public health crisis, adjusting to changing state guidelines.

“We instituted universal masking for anyone in the hospital building. The staff are supportive of the enhanced infection prevention practices,” said Amy Pollard, RN, President and CEO of UR Medicine | Noyes Health. “The vast majority of people who enter our building are willing to wear a mask. We are also checking temperatures at the door, and for the most part our patients have been appreciative and cooperative.”

Pollard said patients have been understanding of the restrictions put in place during the pandemic, which include reduced visitation. Nurses have gone above and beyond to help families connect with loved ones.

“Restrictions on visitors - no visitors allowed except for pediatric patients and with women in labor and delivery, or at end of life - have been hard on both patients and our staff, who go out of their way to help our patients communicate with their loved ones using smart phones and tablets,” said Pollard. “But everyone understands why these measures are necessary.”

The pandemic resulted in local hospitals instituting new practices that may stick around and become part of the “new normal.”

“Our mission of providing the best possible care to our patients has not changed,” Pollard said. “The delivery of that care will continue to evolve. Telemedicine is here to stay -- and will help us take care of some of our patients with chronic conditions who have difficulty traveling to the hospital for regular appointments.”

Local hospitals are seeing signs of confidence growing in the community as COVID-19 cases decrease. Since receiving the go-ahead from the state in late April, elective procedures and appointments have steadily gone up and are getting back near pre-COVID levels.

While practices like universal masking remain in place for all, a steady stream of patients have returned for everyday procedures and appointments. Accordingly, Noyes has been bringing back staff placed on furlough during the COVID-19 slowdown.

"As we anticipated, patient volumes are increasing gradually,“ Pollard said. ”Given staggered scheduling of patients due to increased cleaning protocols, we hope to get back to a fairly normal schedule after a time of transition and accommodation to the new systems we've put in place to keep our patients and staff safe. As volumes increase, we will be continuing to bring back our remaining furloughed staff.“

Pollard has seen the Dansville community rally around its healthcare workers as Noyes builds towards a healthier future.

“In preparing to treat COVID-19 patients, the Noyes staff worked hard to ensure the safe and effective delivery of proper care to all Noyes patients... and it hasn't been easy,” Pollard said. “They took on new jobs, were asked to do more with less, and even were put on rolling furloughs to get the organization ready and through the pandemic. It's not over. The community as a whole has demonstrated its appreciation with donations of PPE, food, cards and money, over and over again -- and that support has buoyed our staff and helped lighten the load.”