Getting Care During COVID-19 – Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
We’re grateful that many of you have stayed at home and taken precautions to protect yourself and your families from COVID-19. However, across the country and especially here at Cape Cod Healthcare, our caregivers are seeing that people in need of medical services not related to the virus are not seeking help and waiting too long to get care.
Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our community, especially in times like these. As we adapt to the ever-changing situation due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we wish to reinforce that we are here for you and remain open for your on-going and new medical needs. Because we have process and protocols in place to help ensure the safety of our patients and staff at our facilities, the risk of contracting the virus during a visit remains very, very low.
Can I still get routine care?
Yes. All Cape Cod Healthcare primary and specialty care practices are now offering virtual telemedicine visits as an alternative to in-person services. If you have scheduled routine check-ups, a chronic medical condition or other non-emergency medical needs, this might be a good option for you. Our providers also continue to see patients who require in-person visits on a case by case basis. Should a new medical concern arise that is not emergent, it is important to call your doctor for further guidance.
Primary care physicians continue to conduct annual wellness exams at this time through a telemedicine visit, deferring lab work to a later time and separate review.
What if I have an injury or immediate health issue requiring medical attention?
Our Urgent Care centers in Harwich, Hyannis and Sandwich are accessible for a wide variety of minor injuries and illnesses including:
- Tick bites
- Ear aches
- Strep throats
- and other common health issues
Onsite x-rays, IV fluid administration and lab services are available at our urgent care centers and most patients head home in less than an hour.
What should I do if I’m having a health emergency?
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, whether it is related or unrelated to COVID-19, our Emergency Rooms at Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital are prepared to safely treat all emergent medical conditions. This includes any injury or illness for which a lack of immediate treatment may cause harm. As always, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911.
This can include, among other things:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent severe vomiting or diarrhea
- Coughing or throwing up blood
- Passing out or fainting
- Cardiac arrest or stopped breathing
- Severe chest pain or pressure
- Sudden weakness on one side of the body
- Broken bones, especially if pushing through the skin
- Deep wounds
- Heavy bleeding
- Severe burns
- Severe allergic reaction with swelling and trouble breathing
- Accidental poisoning or overdose
- Electrical shock
- Head injury with fainting or confusion
- Neck or spine injury with a loss of feeling or movement
- Suicidal ideation and intentions
Under no circumstance should you avoid emergency rooms or wait until the day after to see a doctor if you feel that your symptoms are truly serious.
What about other kinds of healthcare services?
Imaging studies, rehab and lab services are available, although some locations are currently closed or operating at reduced hours (please contact the location directly for details). Routine or elective testing and imaging studies are currently suspended. Although elective surgeries are still currently on hold, if a surgeon determines a surgery is necessary, the surgeon will coordinate with the hospital any testing or pre hospital requirements.
Can I still receive VNA home healthcare services?
Home visits and hospice services continue. VNA of Cape Cod & VNA hospice is seeing patients for essential visits and is prepared. VNA has moved many visits to telehealth check-in when clinically appropriate, but continues home visits to meet the community need. If you have any questions please call 508-957-7400.
Are special measures in place for maternity care?
Yes – our team of obstetricians, certified nurse-midwives, nurses and support staff at The Family Birthplace have implemented additional guidelines at this time and welcome expectant mothers with compassionate, expert care. Additionally, we have expanded our virtual offerings for childbirth education and support. Learn more about our maternity care during COVID-19.
If you need ER or urgent care, help managing your chronic condition, require important tests or lab work, it is critical to call your doctor or come to one of our facilities and not delay seeking treatment. We’re here for you.