While trying to assure your patients that their health & safety is your top priority as always. Well with a common-sense approach that is supported by science you can create robust re-opening plans & procedures that ensure everyone’s’ safety. So here are few tips to keep in mind when you’re trying to set up a protocol for re-opening your practice:
- Implement social distancing culture in your waiting room by ensuring the proper distance between each seat.
- Install a sneeze guard (Plexiglas) in front of your reception counter where you see fit to eliminate any contact between your front desk staff and patients.
- Lock your front door to have better control of traffic in your office, don’t worry people are used to lining up by now.
- Ask all your patients if they have any of the COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with some who had those symptoms during the last 14 days.
- Monitor each person’s temperature prior to their entrance in your waiting room. This includes staff members, patients and any other person who enters your practice. Ask your patients and your staff to wear gloves and face mask prior to their visit and If they forget, make sure you will supply them with gloves and a mask before they come in.
- Have everyone to use hand sanitizer before entering your waiting room. And make sure hand sanitizer is available and easily accessible in your waiting room.
- Patients who drive for their appointment should stay in their vehicles upon arrival and notify you by phone that they are ready to come in.
- Proper ventilation is also another key factor in preventing the transfer of Coronavirus. So keep your HVAC fan on at all times and make sure its filter(s) is changed prior to reopening.
- Disinfect your entire waiting room periodically throughout the day and pay special attention to chairs, door handles, reception counter, POS machine, pens, and writing boards.
It would a good idea for you and your key staff members to visit your office a couple of days prior to opening and make sure all the necessary changes are implemented. Your patients should be notified through email about your new protocols. This will give them a peace of mind by knowing you are taking extra measures to ensure everyone’s safety.
Also, have a staff member call each patient 24 hours before their appointment and ask/remind them of the following:
- If they have been in contact with a person that had Coronavirus in the last days?
- If they are showing any symptoms like dry cough, shortness of breath, fever, and body ache?
- Let them know to wear masks and gloves before they come in.
- Ask them to give themselves extra time. And remind them due to extra safety measures in place they may have to wait a bit longer than usual for their appointment.
It would be a good idea to leave 5 to 10 minutes between each appointment so your staff don’t need to rush and do a thorough sanitization of each operator. These are challenging times like of which no one has seen before. You are not alone and all healthcare providers facing the same battle. But through common sense and self-discipline, all will pull through stronger. Assumption is the mother of all mistakes, please don’t assume anything and follow all the procedures wholeheartedly.