Many healthcare practices have been open during the COVID-19 pandemic, with healthcare workers doing all they can on the front line to support the needs of their patients. Practice owners should have taken steps already to ensure patient safety, and to ensure safety for the healthcare workers at the heart of their practice too.
But as healthcare can be a broad term, there are those practices that haven’t been open during the last 18 months or so. Especially those operating within particular niches of the healthcare industry, it might be that their services haven’t been considered ‘essential.’ As such, they might now be in the process of opening their doors again to the people who will benefit from the care they can provide.
Whatever the case, the same thing remains true: Patient safety is paramount, especially in relation to COVID. Some of the following steps have already been put in place by the practices that have remained open. This will offer comfort to you if you’re a patient. But if you’re a practice owner about to reopen your healthcare business, be sure to apply these safety procedures at your practice.
#1: Delay appointments if necessary
Some patients will require priority care, but for those that don’t, it could be worth delaying their appointments. This is to ensure safe distancing within waiting rooms, and it gives practitioners scope to concentrate on those who need urgent care. This step should also be taken for patients displaying COVID symptoms. If the practice doesn’t provide COVID-specific care, they should ask patients to declare such symptoms either on the phone or through a form when sending out their healthcare appointment reminders. If symptoms are declared, then it is wiser to reschedule the affected person’s appointment.
#2: Stagger appointments
Another way to ensure social distancing is to stagger appointments. This way, there won’t be too many patients congregating at once in waiting areas. It is also a good idea to ask patients to book appointments online or over the phone, as this way, there will be less footfall coming into the practice. Practitioners will then have more control over who and who doesn’t enter their practice at any given time.
#3: Regularly test employees
Many frontline healthcare workers have already been vaccinated but there is still a need for COVID-testing. There could still be a chance that the virus could spread, as the jury is still out on whether or not vaccinated people can carry the disease. For this reason, testing needs to take place daily to protect the needs of both healthcare workers and their patients.
#4: Make cleaning a priority
Hygiene is always of top priority within healthcare practices so many will already have cleaning protocols in place. These should continue and be expanded on, as every piece of equipment, seating, and surface area will need to be cleaned and disinfected after every patient contact. This, of course, extends to personal hygiene, as both healthcare workers and their patients need to sanitise their hands before and after contact.
There is always more to do, of course, so practices should follow the guidelines that exist within their particular industry. By taking the relevant steps, they will continue to keep themselves and their patients safe.