Important Information Regarding COVID-19
- Training and Educating Our Team
- Patient Scheduling & Social Distancing
- Upon Patient Arrival
- Patients in the Operatory
- Protocols for the Clinical Team
- After Clinical Treatment
- Recommendations for Our Team
Training & Educating Our Team
One of the most important things we are doing during this time is training and educating our staff
- Our team has had refresher training in proper handwashing techniques. This may seem basic; however, it is the most important thing we can do to prevent the spread of the virus. Research shows that handwashing is often poorly complied with and usually not done well. Consequently, we have spent a lot of time ensuring that our team does it well and often, especially before and after every patient encounter.
- Our team engages in the appropriate use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) prior to caring for a patient to prevent contamination.
- We insist that team members who are not feeling well proactively stay at home for at least 2 weeks.
- Each member of our team performs a self-temperature check at the beginning of each day. Anyone with an elevated temperature (100.4 degrees and above) is sent home.
- We limit the number of team members providing care to individual patients.
- We have created a specific checklist of recommendations for our team to follow so that they arrive to work healthy and go home to their families without worry (see Recommendations for our Team).
Patient Scheduling and Social Distancing
- Filter scheduled patients using established and recommended screening checklists.
- Reschedule patients who are experiencing an elevated temperature or any COVID warning signs
- Instruct scheduled patients to notify us if they develop symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., cough, sore throat, or fever) on the day they are scheduled to be seen
Our Reception Area
- Reception area seating accommodates recommended 6ft distancing
- All items that cannot easily be disinfected have been removed from the waiting room (magazines, pillows, toys, etc.)
- Our team members frequently use disinfectant wipes in the waiting area, bathrooms, on door handles, tables, light switches, computers
To Promote Social Distancing
- Prioritize high risk patients to ensure minimal contact with others
- Follow established scheduling protocols to ensure fewer people in the waiting room.
- Encourage patient escorts to wait in the car to limit the number of people in the waiting room and promote social distancing
- When Social Distancing is becoming difficult, we will utilize a “virtual” waiting room by encouraging patients to wait in their cars or outside the office where they can be contacted by text / phone call when our clinical team and operatory are ready for them
Upon Patient Arrival
- Masks, tissues and hand sanitizer are made accessible to all entering our reception area.
- Upon request, we will provide patients with instructions about hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette
- Patients are asked about the presence of symptoms of respiratory infection and history of travel or contact with possible COVID-19 patients and are required to sign a health declaration form.
- Assessed for respiratory symptoms and fever (with a non-contact digital infrared thermometer) and they will be asked to sign a health declaration form
- If temperature greater than 100.4°F or respiratory symptoms are present, they will be advised to seek medical treatment and their visit will be rescheduled
Patients in the Operatory
- Patients are promptly escorted into an operatory
- All team members strictly follow basic infection control practices between patients (e.g., hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting shared equipment)
- Once in the operatory, patient movement about the office is limited
- Once the patient has left the surgical operatory, the room undergoes appropriate cleaning and surface disinfection before the next patient is seated
- Special precautions are taken when performing Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGP)
Protocols for the Clinical Team
We adhere to usual standard and transmission-based precautions in our surgical suites but with greater attention to detail and ensure that procedures are followed consistently and correctly.
Furthermore, we will ensure that there is a rotating team member/assistant who is primarily focused on sterilization. This team member will be responsible for cleaning, disinfecting and wiping down everything in the operatories and in reception area, chairs, handles, light switches, tables, etc.
- Before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and after removing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including gloves
- After removing PPE in order to remove any pathogens that might have been transferred to bare hands during this removal process
- Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
Personal Protective Equipment
- Wear PPE (N95 mask, gloves, eye protection, face shield, gown)
- Routine surgical masks are one time use and discarded
- N95 respirators should be used during any surgical procedure
Eye Protection / Gloves / Gowns
- Put on eye protection (i.e., protective glasses or a disposable face shield that covers the front and sides of the face) upon entry to the patient room or clinical area
- Re-usable eye protection (protective glasses, surgical loupes) must be cleaned and disinfected utilizing proper germicidal wipes prior to re-use
- Put on clean, non-sterile gloves upon entry into the patient room or care area
- Change gloves if they become torn or heavily contaminated during a patient encounter
- Remove and discard gloves when leaving the patient room or care area, and immediately perform hand hygiene
- Put on a clean, isolation gown upon entry into the patient room or area
- Change the gown if it becomes soiled. Remove and discard the gown in a dedicated container for waste or linens before leaving the patient room or care area. Disposable gowns should be discarded while clinical cloth scrubs will be left and washed at the office at the end of each day.
- Gowns should be prioritized for all aerosol-generating procedures and during activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated.
After Clinical Treatment
- All non-disposable medical equipment used for patient care is cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer’s instructions
- Environmental cleaning and disinfection procedures are followed consistently
- Routine cleaning and disinfection procedures (e.g., using cleaners and water to clean surfaces prior to applying an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant to frequently touched surfaces or objects for appropriate contact times as indicated on the product’s label) are appropriate for SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare settings, including those patient-care areas in which aerosol generating procedures are performed
At the End of the Day
- Our commercial cleaning technicians have been instructed and updated on these infection control guidelines.
We are confident these guidelines will help to create a safe environment for all of our patients and team members. You can feel secure in the knowledge that we are doing everything in our power to provide the safest clinical conditions to protect our patients, our team, and our families.
Recommendations for Our Team
Before Coming to Work
- Remove watches, rings and accessories and leave at home
- Tie hair back; keep nails short
- If bringing a lunch, place in disposable wrapping
- Bring work clothes in a washable bag (i.e. pillowcase)
- Change into scrubs and work shoes upon arrival
- Use PPE as appropriate
- Leave all unnecessary items (pens, phones, etc.) outside of the operatories
- Avoid using other workers phones, desks, offices and other work tools and equipment when possible.
- Disinfect phones, keyboards, countertops frequently
- Avoid handling personal cell phones and other personal items
- Wash hands with soap
- Remove scrubs and leave at the office for laundering
- Wash hands again and put on clean clothes
- Sanitize phone, glasses, etc.
- Wash hands
- Remove shoes and clothes and wash clothes (non-clinical staff) in washing machine with hot water
For further information, including measures to keep yourself healthy, visit the following links: