The COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, but we are nearing the time when we will be able to go back to work and see patients again. In advance, make sure your services will be as safe as possible. Being ready means being safe!
Ultimately, it will be our governments and local health authorities that will give the green light to go back to work. The leaders will also mandate what will be the ‘new normal’ in doing business.
In the meantime, you can get a jump on that inevitable go-ahead by developing health and safety protocols for your practice and clinic.
I did that this week for my TH Medical Aesthetics clinic in Thornhill.
With input from staff, we prepared and posted a framework for re-opening with strict measures to ensure safety between practitioners and patients.
Our patients will be advised on protocols for distancing and safety.
We will make sure our practitioners wear proper safety wear.
We will only have one practitioner in the office each day. That’s a reflection on the limited space at TH Medical Aesthetics. Bigger clinics might allow for more scheduling flexibility.
You’ll also see that we’ve decided to not offer dermal filler and PRP treatments at this time. We will re-introduce those ‘riskier’ procedures once it’s deemed more appropriate.
I want to commend the Canadian Society of Aesthetic Specialty Nurses for help in developing my back-to-work protocols.
Here are the CSASN suggested guidelines for Reintegration of Medical Aesthetic Clinics.
- Wear masks to protect colleagues and patients.
- Ensure proper distancing between staff and patients.
- Wear scrubs/uniform that should be changed daily at the clinic.
- Wear masks, hats, booties and glasses or goggles.
- Change gowns with each patient contact.
- Shower after returning home from work.
- Clean treatment/exam rooms thoroughly between patients.
- Stay home if displaying have symptoms of COVID-19 or a temperature over 37.3°.
- Pre-screen for symptoms, exposure, and out of province travel for the previous two weeks.
- Ask patients to stay home with symptoms of COVID-19, chronic lung disease, severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immunocompromised, brittle diabetics, kidney disease (dialysis) liver disease, or who are pregnant or nursing.
- Discourage and prevent walk-in traffic.
- Do now allow visitors or children to accompany the patient.
- Advise patients to use the bathroom at home prior to arriving for their appointment.
- Have them wait outside or in their car until the designated appointment time.
- Ask patients to leave their coat and all belongings at home or in the car.
- Inform patients of the need to be on schedule and limit numbers in the clinic.
- Maintain proper distancing between staff and patients. Take into consideration the size of your clinic and number of staff and patients.
- Consider staggering start times and breaks for staff in order to maintain distancing in change rooms and lunchrooms/offices.
- Set up a sanitization station where incoming patients can disinfect hands and have their temperature taken. Do not treat patients with temperatures over 37.3°.
- Remove all reading material from waiting room/area.
- Clean chairs and table tops in the waiting room/area between patients.
- Schedule appointments with a buffer of 15 minutes between patients.
- Clean surfaces, counters, phones, keyboards and door handles hourly.
- Provide wipes, hand sanitizer and laundry hamper for exiting of treatment room.
- Clean treatment bed, counters, tables, chairs, mirrors, fridge door, cupboard handles, keyboards and cameras between patients.
- Avoid ablative treatments and Zimmer coolers or any other aerosol producing devices.
- Provide a station or separate room for staff to put on gowns, glasses, hats, booties and/or masks.
- Consider having a release for aesthetic treatments during COVID-19.
- Develop payment options to promote social distancing and contact, such as e-transfers or payments in a separate room/office.
- Clean credit card/debit terminals between patients.
To borrow a line from Ontario Premier Doug Ford: this is a road map, not a calendar.
The coronavirus moves at its own pace and we will follow the progress from a safe distance.
Only when we get the official go-ahead from our governments and the health experts will we re-open our doors.
We all hope and agree that will be sooner than later. But please don’t ignore the fact the virus will still be out there.
Safety first is safety always!