We are looking forward to getting back to a "new normal" next week.


Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health are allowing Illinois hospitals to resume elective procedures starting next week (May 11). Elective procedures include non-emergency procedures like joint replacement surgery, preventative colonoscopies, cardiac rehab and physical therapy appointments, and "regular" checkups with your health care provider.


Appointments like these have been "paused" by many health care organizations, including FHN, based on orders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) as the state prepared for a possible influx of patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


That "pause" gave all Illinois hospitals time to make sure we are fully prepared for COVID-19. We at FHN used the time to train extensively, make sure we have enough personal protective equipment (PPE), and institute a host of changes to ensure patient and staff safety.


Our Environmental Services team has strengthened its already very thorough cleaning regimen to include even more frequent attention to high-touch surfaces in patient areas and increased use of TRU-D, our UV robot, to disinfect patient and waiting areas.


We’ve also changed how people move through the hospital to make sure that patients who may have COVID-19 don’t come into contact with other patients, visitors or staff not protected with the right type of PPE.


We’re still ready for COVID-19 patients, and for any emergency situation that might come up. But we know that making routine provider visits and services possible is the best way to help the people in our communities get – and stay – healthy.


If you had an FHN appointment postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you will likely get a call from our caring team. We’re getting in touch to reschedule those important preventative visits and appointments to help you stay healthy.


If you haven’t heard from us yet, you’re welcome to call your provider’s office to reschedule your appointment, or set up a new appointment for routine care like school and sports physicals and well-checks.


Celebrating National Nurses’ Week


FHN Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer Kathy Martinez is part of this week’s FHN COVID-19 video update. Kathy also is serving as FHN’s Incident Commander throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.


Along with sharing the message that FHN is open, safe and ready to care for our patients, Kathy expressed her thanks for the exceptional work being done by nurses throughout FHN. May 6-12 is National Nurses Week, celebrated each year to coincide with Florence Nightingale’s birthday.


Kathy, who began her health care career as a nurse, noted some of the ways our nurses have helped patients in the past weeks, from sitting with patients to calm their fears to taking time to exercise – in full personal protective gear – with a patient for encouragement.


"I am honored and proud to be Chief Nursing Officer at FHN," Kathy said, "and I am so proud of our staff each and every day."


Visit www.fhn.org/coronavirus for the latest information on FHN’s preparations for the COVID-19 pandemic.