Covid-19 Update – June 26th, 2020
Getting an Appointment:
As the 1st Covid-19 wave is easing, most physicians’ offices, including ours, have been receiving a higher than average number of calls and requests for appointments. The challenges in accommodating all these appointments is made more difficult by the public safety protocols required of us to help keep you safe. These protocols and safety measures limit the number of patients we can see safely per day. We are doing our utmost to keep your health in mind, and, as such, our face-to-face visits are reserved for patients requiring in-office examinations. All other visits will be booked as phone visits.
Please note: our phone visit requests have increased in number and there may be a longer than usual wait for routine phone appointments. To ensure you’re receiving the best care possible during this challenging time, please advise our staff of your exact health care needs when you’re speaking with them on the phone.
Within the coming weeks we will be implementing a new patient portal (similar to the provincially cancelled RelayHealth/MyHealth portal used until March of this year). This new portal is called HealthMyself (https://healthmyself.ca). All patients with a current email address in our electronic records will receive an invite to join this new portal when we go live in the coming weeks. Please join. Important features of this new portal include messaging to/from the office as well as the ability to send and receive attachments securely.
- Only blood testing deemed urgent continues to be collected at this time. Though the first COVID-19 wave seems to have passed, NSHA has not authorized a return to routine lab work. Hours and locations for urgent tests can be found here: www.nshealth.ca/blood-collection
- Eastern Kings Memorial Community Health Centre (EKM Wolfville) and Western Kings Memorial Health Center (WKM Berwick) are only collecting blood for booked appointments. All Patients requiring urgent and essential bloodwork will require an appointment by calling 1-833-998-2722 between 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon. to Fri. (excluding holidays). Unfortunately this phone line will not be monitored for messages, and callers cannot be placed on hold. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.
- Blood collection remains closed at Valley Regional Hospital until further notice.
Preparing for your non face-to-face visit
Given the many phone calls and phone visits at the present time, Drs. Sabine & Wellwood ask that all patients booked for non-face-to-face visits (aka phone calls) be prepared with the following:
- Please be prepared for a possible call from an unlisted number as most physicians are performing phone visits from personal phones, instead of office phones.
- If you’re on BP medication please have home readings recorded and ready for review during your call.
- Be prepared to provide the list of meds you need to be refilled (please have your bottles/blister packs nearby).
- As things are changing so quickly day-to-day we ask that patients have patience and be accepting if we call earlier or later than their set phone appointment (+/- 1-hours). This enables improved efficiency on our end. Note: if there is no answer the first time, we will attempt a second time later that day. Please refrain from submitting a second call back request from our website if you note a missed call from us as we will attempt a second call.
Non urgent test results
This is an unusual time. Normally we flag non urgent test results to your charts and use these flags to remind us that certain items should be reviewed during your next visit. As many visits have been cancelled, we ask that you please take note of which labs, X-rays, tests, specialty visits you’ve had and take ownership of these items. It’s important that in the chaos nothing is missed. If you feel something should be reviewed, we’re happy to provide a phone visit with you to review these items. Request a callback to discuss booking a phone appointment.
Temporary Suspension of the Colon Cancer Prevention Program:
As NSHA focuses its efforts on managing the COVID-19 pandemic, they are suspending the Colon Cancer Prevention Program until further notice.
- Home screening kits will not be mailed out.
- Home screening kits already at the lab and those in the mail will be processed and the results will be mailed to patients.
- Patients who test positive for trace amounts of blood in the stool will NOT be contact fro an appointment until the screening program has been restarted; screening nurses will, however, contact them to answer questions/ease their concerns.
- All screening colonoscopies which are currently booked will be cancelled until further notice.
- NSHA is contacting scheduled patients to notify them of these cancellations
- Nova Scotians who have received but have not yet done the home screening test should wait until the screening program resumes operations.
- If you have worrying symptoms of colon cancer please arrange an appointment with Drs. Wellwood or Sabine.
When you request an in person appointment with us you will be asked a few questions related to possible COVID 19 risks. Since the safety of our staff and physicians/nurses is paramount, it is of the utmost importance that you answer the questions honestly.
Virtual Care Update
Within our new Electronic Medical Records system at the office, we do now have the ability to meet with you via secure video conferencing. If your needs are better met through this type of service, rather than by phone, this may be recommended by our medical office staff.
Covid 19 Update – March 20, 2020
- All well baby visits will be booked in the afternoon.
- A nurse or one of our staff will phone parents the morning of the visit and review milestones/concerns/health teaching for the baby’s appropriate age.
- During the phone call the Covid-19 screening questions will be asked to determine whether an office visit is low risk for all.
- One person/parent will be allowed in the clinic with the child. When you reach the clinic, call the office and one of our staff will allow you entrance.
- Upon arrival, the Covid-19 screening questions will be reviewed again prior to admission to an examining room.
- Strict hand hygiene protocols will be asked of the parent.
- Once in the room, since most of the history and questions have already been reviewed, a prompt completion of measurements, any required physical exam, and vaccines will be done.
- Afterwards, the parent will be asked to wait in his/her car for the requisite 15 minutes to observe for any vaccine adverse reactions.
- chronic fatigue
- asymptomatic lab abnormalities
- irregular heart rates without red flags
- chronic stable anemia
- high blood pressure
- abdominal pain without red flags
- fatty liver
What does this me for you? It means, if you’re supposed to be having a follow up or first time visit with a specialist in the coming months, there’s a high chance this visit will either be deferred or will occur by phone instead of by face-to-face.
Covid 19 Update – March 18, 2020
Any patients seeking assessments/visits with Drs Sabine or Wellwood are asked to request a visit via our online platform:
Note that the usual online booking service through Chronometriq has been disabled to allow better triaging of incoming visit requests. The province has enabled telehealth visits through MSI and, given the numerous cancellations we’ve received, any patient requiring a visit/phone visit will be given one within a short time frame.
Please also be aware that all non urgent lab work is being refused at blood collection sites. For those with conditions requiring regular lab monitoring, advise the staff at the collection sites and your request for bloodwork will not be denied (or so we’ve been told). Any issues with lab work should be brought to our office’s attention through the callback request method at the link above.
Covid 19 – Morning Update March 17, 2020
These are the latest changes at our clinic due to Covid-19.
Effective immediately: the Wolfville Professional Centre front door will be locked and only patients with appointments will be allowed entry. For Sabine/Wellwood patients, our staff will allow you entry at your exact appointment time. For patients of Drs Ross, Clarke, MacNeil, Burgoyne, and Burton, seek further direction from the sign posted on the door.
If you screen positive with the following self screening questions, you must refrain from attending any in person office visits and call 811. Please do not call 811 if you do not screen positive.
NSHA Health Services Update
To support efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and the conservation and redeployment of resources many non-urgent procedures, clinics, surgeries and appointments are being cancelled or suspended. Virtual care options are being explored, including the potential for telephone follow-up as appropriate for some patients. Emergency Services will continue to be provided.
Beginning Wednesday, March 18:
- All elective outpatient visits in NSHA clinics are cancelled. Individual services will contact patients whose appointments are proceeding. Dialysis, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and mental health and addictions appointments will continue.
- All non-urgent diagnostic imaging appointments will be rescheduled and walk-in x-ray services will be closed.
- All same-day admission and elective surgical procedures are postponed. Cancer and urgent/emergency procedures will continue.
- As currently-occupied inpatient beds become available, they will be held open to create capacity to establish COVID-19 units in designated hospitals.
Information on service interruptions is being posted on the NSHA website at www.nshealth.ca/temporaryclosures and will be updated regularly.
Pregnant Women: To reduce exposure to other people the timing and frequency of prenatal visits has been adjusted at our clinic. If your pregnancy has been deemed low risk, you can expect the following adjustments to your prenatal visit schedule ( a slight modification of the WHO schedule)
- First prenatal visit up to 12 weeks
- 20 weeks
- 26 weeks
- 30 weeks
- 34 weeks
- 39 weeks
- 40 weeks
Prenatal blood work and prenatal ultrasounds are important aspects of prenatal care. These investigations will be offered as per usual.
Covid-19 Update – March 16, 2020
Our online booking feature has been disabled for the time being to allow our staff to triage each visit request.
Automated reminders have also been disabled. You can expect a call from our staff to review your upcoming visit and triage your needs as they arise.
All well baby visits with vaccines will proceed as per usual as these are deemed essential services. Stay tuned as this could change at any time.
Medical EI – there is no need for sick notes to access these benefits. See link https://nationalpost.com/…/canada-sick-leave-ei-benefits-co…
All procedures and liquid nitrogen visits have been cancelled indefinitely. This includes IUD insertions.
Prenatal visits: these may be spaced out more than the typical 4 weeks. All will be assessed on an individual basis. Review this with our staff when they call or at your next visit.
Covid-19 Update – March 15, 2020
All visits will be converted to phone visits unless deemed required-in-person by either Drs. Sabine or Wellwood: all patients will be contacted regarding their appointments. (All nurse and SW appointments will also be canceled unless deemed urgent).
The office door will remain locked. All walk in patients without an appointment will be turned away.
Patients with appointments are asked to remain in their cars until their exact appointment time.
To the right of our door will be information sheets regarding the new office procedure pertaining to hand washing requirements and office protocols. (Proper hand washing)
If you are in need of a prescription renewal, please consider asking your pharmacist for an extension rather than booking an office appointment.
Please, ALL PATIENTS, stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates. MyHealth will be terminated in less than 2 weeks, and, as such, further communication made difficult. Facebook is the easiest way for us to disseminate critical information.
NEW: Can’t get through on our phone? You can now request a callback.
Drs Sabine & Wellwood will be strictly enforcing a no-sick-note policy. If you are requesting a travel note or sick note, we will be unable to accommodate these requests and ask that you provide your employer with one of the following letters. Letter One or Letter Two.
All patients are advised to postpone any non-urgent labwork: if you’ve previously been given a requisition for bloodwork that is non-urgent, we ask that you delay it’s completion until the Covid-19 pandemic is no longer deemed a public health emergency.