Published January 13, 2022
The latest COVID-19 surge is stretching health systems across the country beyond their capacity. Many health systems are finding it necessary to implement their crisis standards of care plans.
The Nebraska Medicine Crisis Standards of Care plan is meant to help guide decisions when the demand for health care resources exceeds availability.
Our priority is to always deliver high quality care to patients in a safe environment. Decisions regarding the use of our limited resources will be made in an equitable, fair and transparent way.
As we activate this plan, our caregivers are committed to openly communicating with patients and their family members to set expectations and explain available care options.
Why has the Crisis Standards of Care plan been activated now?
Our leadership made the difficult decision to activate this plan now because our community’s demand for health care currently exceeds our available resources.
We are facing a situation more difficult than any so far in the pandemic. The omicron variant is spreading in record numbers. Combined with the high demand for other health care services, this increases the number of patients who need us and affects the number of colleagues we have available to care for them.
This is the first stage of our crisis plan, which we are activating because we are committed to patient safety. Activating this plan provides us with additional flexibility to redeploy staff, limit non-urgent services and modify how resources are distributed. We are taking these steps to hopefully prevent the more difficult decisions that could come later in the crisis continuum.
What does this mean for me?
While our Crisis Standards of Care plan is activated, if you need our help, your experience may differ from your previous experiences.
Some examples of how things could be different:
- You may be contacted to reschedule an appointment
- There could be fewer outpatient clinic appointments available
- Your surgery might be postponed
- If you are involved in an ongoing clinical trial, it may be paused
- Medical students and other staff may be used as support personnel
- We may need to deny patient transfers
- Non-patient care areas like classrooms or conference rooms may be used for patient care
- Scarce resources may need to be allocated in a fair and impartial manner
Do I need to call to reschedule anything?
No. We will call you. If you are not contacted, you can assume your appointment will remain as scheduled
Can I still come to the emergency room?
Yes. Our emergency rooms remain open. We are always here for you if you have an emergency, but we ask that you reserve the emergency room for medical emergencies. Contact your primary care provider for non-emergency care or consider using one of our Immediate Care Clinics.
Please only visit the emergency department for COVID-19 if your symptoms are getting worse.
Worsening symptoms could look like an uncontrolled cough, trouble breathing, sudden confusion or chest pain and pressure.
If you have mild COVID-19 symptoms, please assume you have COVID-19. Follow the CDC’s guidelines and isolate at home.
Where do I go for a COVID test?
COVID-19 tests are becoming harder to find in our community, and test results are starting to take longer.
Check these lists for other COVID-19 testing options near you:
To be tested through Nebraska Medicine, please follow these instructions.
What can I do to help?
- When indoors outside of your home, wear a well-fitting mask over your mouth and nose, N95 or KN95 if possible
- Don't plan or attend large gatherings
- Avoid crowded, indoor environments
- Wash your hands frequently
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces
- Take steps to support your immune system
- Isolate yourself if you have symptoms
- If a family member or close contact is ill, quarantine yourself and get tested