The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone the world over. Due to the coronavirus’ infectious nature, people who are infected with this disease may experience mild to serious respiratory illness that, if not treated, may lead to death. With that being said, it’s essential to protect oneself and others from the potential infection.
Aside from people, businesses and organizations have had to implement operating strategies that follow COVID-19 preventative measures, and medical facilities are no exception. Medical facilities have implemented various strategies that need to be strictly followed.
Here are ten ways medical practices can open safely during COVID 19:
- Social Distancing
Medical practices have had to make sure that patients practice social distancing as much as possible. Some of the ways that social distancing has been enforced include standing markings and barriers in the form of acrylic dividers.
Social distancing helps to minimize the spread of infection due to the elimination of physical contact. This means that medical facilities have had to invest in quality barriers to prevent the possible transmission of the coronavirus among the patients.
- Mask Requirement
Patients and medical staff members alike have had to wear masks to try preventing the spread of the virus through sneezing, coughing, speaking, and breathing. Anyone who enters a medical space has to properly wear a mask. An added layer of protection is sneeze guards and face shields, which can help prevent transmission when people have to interact and provide additional layers in case of the spread of particulates.
- Personal Protective Equipment
Medical staff are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), particularly when handling COVID-19 patients. Protective clothing includes gloves, boots, shields, and specific masks. The staff has to go through training on how to accurately wear the equipment, remove it and to remain clean through the process.
- Temperature Readings
Medical facilities should place temperature reading equipment by the entrance to make sure that everyone going into the facility is checked for a fever. This means that every person entering the space has to have a temperature reading taken before entering.
Typically, a high temperature is one of the symptoms of the virus and needs to be looked into carefully. For example, if someone’s temperature reading is high, a rapid COVID-19 test may be administered at the facility as a precautionary measure.
- Sanitizing Stations
Sanitizing stations should be spread throughout your medical facility as a preventative measure. Frequent sanitizing is encouraged as this kills off germs that spread the virus upon contact. The first sanitizing station can place placed in the entrance where an employee will also have the clients’ temperature taken.
You can also require hand sanitizing when going inside the different areas in the medical facility. This can mean setting up a sanitizer in the entrance of the laboratory department, pharmacy, etc.
- Minimizing the Number of People at the Facility
Another way to make sure that medical facilities can safely serve a wide range of clients is to minimize the number of people entering the building. Doing so can lower the risk of transmitting the virus from one person to another.
To properly minimize the number of people at the facility, below are the safety guidelines you need to follow:
- Some entrances should be closed to limit the movements of the people.
- The chairs in the waiting areas should be placed with a distance of six feet apart and only a few people should be allowed to enter the rooms at a time.
- The number of staff allowed in the operating and examination rooms should be limited to those who are essential to the patient’s care.
- The number of persons who will accompany the patient should also be limited to reduce the risk of infection.
While bigger facilities like hospitals require all hands on deck, you can still mitigate the spread of the virus by temporarily forbidding visitation, except in the case of a family member coming to drop up or pick up a patient.
- Admission, Screening and Testing Procedures
When it comes to admissions, medical facilities can also safely open during the COVID-19 pandemic if proper screening and testing procedures are being done for all the patients. Depending on your budget and other personal circumstances, your medical facility may implement the following safety guidelines:
- Everyone should be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and other risk factors as they enter into the medical facility.
- Prior to hospital admission, all patients should be tested for coronavirus. For those undergoing surgery, they should also be tested at least 72 hours prior to the procedure.
- All physicians and other personnel should be screened on a daily basis. This is to make sure they don’t come to work if any COVID-19 symptoms are present.
- The medical facility should separate anyone whom they believe have COVID-19 symptoms before they interact with other patients.
Sticking to a strict screening procedure goes a long way to keeping you and your facility safe.
- Keeping the Facility Clean
In addition to the admission, screening and testing procedures, the medical facilities can open safely despite the COVID-19 pandemic so long as they keep their areas clean. Doing so can significantly reduce the risk of infection and transmission among people entering the building.
In order to do this, the following should be kept in mind:
- Clean the waiting areas regularly.
- Always make alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol available for public use.
- Make sure to use products which are effective against a wide range of viruses and organisms when thoroughly cleaning surfaces and pieces of equipment.
- Make sure all the doctors, nurses, and other staff members sanitize their hands before and after interacting with the patients.
- All exam, treatment, and operating rooms should be cleaned and sanitized frequently. This means sanitizing these rooms before and after interacting with each patient.
While it is always important to keep your medical facility clean, it is imperative that you maintain even higher standards of cleanliness during this time.
- Digital Services
The public is advised not to visit medical facilities unless there is no other option viable. Where one had to visit the medical facility for certain services such as consultations or screenings, these interactions can be done digitally depending on the medical facility. Going digital avoids physical contact which reduces the chance of contracting and transmitting the virus.
- Home Services
Home services are also a method of implementing measures to curb the spread of the virus. Medical staff can do home visits instead of the patient visiting the facility. This arrangement depends on patient diagnosis and resources. The visiting staff member would have received training on how to protect himself or herself and others during that period.
It is crucial for medical facilities to implement as many preventative measures as possible. Some of the measures put in place include social distancing, wearing of masks, personal protective equipment, and temperature readings, sanitizing stations, digital and home services. The public can confidently access medical services if such protocols are followed.