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Hospitals planning to restore non-critical services

  • Monadnock Community Hospital Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/4/2020 4:34:23 PM

Governor Chris Sununu’s “Stay-At-Home 2.0” order allowed for New Hampshire hospitals to reopen for time-sensitive health care services and procedures as early as Monday, May 4. Officials at Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough say they’ve yet to experience the surge in COVID-19 cases that they’d prepared for, but are still finalizing their plans to reopen other services. 

“Preventing the spread of COVID-19 and caring for those in our community who may be impacted by COVID-19 remains our top priority,” said Monadnock Community Hospital CEO Cyndee McGuire in a press release issued Monday afternoon. “We remain committed to protecting our patients and staff through ongoing vigilance as we navigate through what may be our new normal in health care delivery.”

The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health Network, including the Lebanon and Keene campuses, issued their timetable Monday afternoon in a press release which stated that their hospitals would resume “time-sensitive, urgent elective surgeries and procedures and ambulatory visits within the next 14 days.”

According to the release, DHMC at Lebanon saw an average of 10 positive COVID-19 patients a day in April with an average of seven in in-patient care on any given day.  

Peterborough native Maxine Dunn, a nurse in DHMC’s critical care unit, has been treating patients with COVID-19. 

“I’ve always thought this way in terms of my nursing practice –  what if this patient in bed were your loved one – but it hits home even harder now when I think what if someone I loved were in the hospital right now and had to be all alone,” Dunn said in a recent video interview released by the hospital. “So I’ve tried to spend more time with my patients and make that time more meaningful because I might be one of the only people that they can talk to in person that day.”

MCH, which postponed all non-critical in-person medical services back on March 16, is still working out exactly what a reopening would look like, given the possibility of future waves of COVID-19 infection and the success of new telehealth protocols.

“Our reintegration of service will be a slow, thoughtful, and phased process,” McGuire said. “We need to consider our aging population and the specific needs of our community. We urge patients not to delay care, and to call their physician’s office if they have any concerns. Our Tele-health Service has been significantly expanded to allow providers to consult with patients in a virtual setting which has been well received. Monadnock Community Hospital is eager to begin our return to normal operations, but only when it is appropriate to do so, and in coordination with local, state, and system partners.”

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