Canadian Patient Safety Week is an annual campaign for promoting best practices in patient safety in all healthcare fields across Canada.
That includes the practice of medical aesthetics where procedures such as dermal fillers, botulinum toxin A injections and skincare treatments are growing in popularity as Canadians increasingly wish to look good and feel better as they get older. These ‘positive aging’ treatments that smooth out wrinkles or remove age spots, for example, provide patients with revitalized confidence and an enhanced sense of self-esteem.
Recent news stories have exposed the dangers of aesthetic treatments in the hands of unqualified providers who offer services in illegal lip-filler house partiesor in basement clinics. Without a license or even any real training, they offer injections and other procedures on the cheap. But many unfortunate patients pay a steep price when their botched procedure cause them serious complications such as excessive swelling, excruciating pain and even disfigurement.
Like all medical procedures, aesthetics procedures come with potential risks and possible complications. But regulated medical aesthetic providers are educated, trained and skilled to provide the highest levels of patient safety. To address the growing problem of bogus medical aesthetic procedures, patients should research the provider’s qualifications, visit the clinic and ask questions about the procedures and practices. Patients can further protect themselves with an understanding of professional standards and safety regulations in medical aesthetics.
- Administering a substance by injection is a controlled act under the Regulated Health Professions Act, and should only be performed by authorized and regulated health professionals.
- Providers must be licensed to practice in Ontario as a doctor or nurse (RN, RNA, NP). Patients can confirm professional licenses through the College of Physicians and Surgeons or the College of Nurses of Ontario. This ‘Protect the Public’ web search will also flag any disciplinary actions or restrictions on a license to practice.
- A licensed doctor or nurse practitioner must provide the initial consultation for all new patients. Clinics must have a medical director to diagnose and prescribe a treatment plan, and available for ongoing collaboration of patient care.
- Regulated healthcare providers are trained to provide skilled and safe medical aesthetics procedures, follow a code of ethics and are accountable to their provincial college for their actions.
- Treatments and procedures will be provided in a medical clinic that is registered as a business, clean, organized and comfortable. Basement and backyard services should be avoided.
- Regulated healthcare providers will openly answer questions about the procedures, packages, risks and possible complications. Thorough education about the suggested procedure is a must before the patient can make an informed decision to proceed with the treatment.
- Patients should beware of aesthetics offers that are too good to be true. Any treatment or procedure offered at artificially low prices should raise concerns.
The bottom line is all medical treatments should be done by regulated healthcare professionals in a medical facility. Patient safety is the top priority for both the healthcare professionals and the patients in all healthcare fields.