ONGOING COVID-19 PANDEMIC: Best Practices While Returning to Work
Being that each of us are in different parts of the country, we are seeing different levels of COVID-19 activity and experiencing its impact at varying degrees. This will certainly impact the way you approach your decisions and considerations when deciding when and how to reopen your doors and how to conduct business moving forward.
We must embrace that there will be a “new normal,” at least for the foreseeable future. In the field of medical aesthetics, new practices for the safety of practitioners and patients is rapidly growing. During this time, one of the first and most important steps to take is assuring a plan for staff training and education. This crucial part of the process will ensure that all staff complies with patient safety and public protection standards required by local, state, and federal agencies. Compliance to new daily practices will directly impact customer confidence and their return to your practices.
There are many sources for guidance, including but not limited to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP), just to name a few.
Not only do these organizations outline suggested processes for reopening and maintaining daily business flow but provide a comprehensive plan you can follow. Included are resources and tools for staff and patient education, considerations for staff and patient safety, signage for your offices, checklists for environmental infection control and prevention, resources on PPE education, and much, much more.
KEY PRACTICES TO CONSIDER AS YOU NAVIGATE THROUGH THE PANDEMIC
- First and foremost, familiarize yourself with your unique landscape- that includes the demographics for the population you serve, and the associated risks.
- In regard to your clients, know which of your patients are at higher risk of adverse outcomes from COVID-19. A good question to ask may be, “How can you best accommodate that population?”
- Know how to contact your health department.
- Stay connected with your health department to know about COVID-19 trends in your community. This allows you to step up precautions if the virus is spreading in your community.
- As for your office or clinic, assess and restock needed supplies to execute on your new COVID-19 way of doing business.
CDC PROVIDED RESOURCES
Currently available are evidence-based practices provided by the CDC, recommended to help guide you as you are integrating back into a “new way of doing business.”
CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE YOUR PATIENT ARRIVES
- You may want to ask patients about symptoms during reminder calls or ask them to reschedule if they are ill.
- Post signs at entrances and in waiting areas about prevention actions.
- Prepare the waiting area and patient rooms.
- Provide supplies—tissues, alcohol-based hand rub, soap at sinks, and trash cans.
- Place chairs 3–6 feet apart, when possible. Use barriers (like screens), if possible.
- If your office has toys, reading materials, or other communal objects, remove them or clean them regularly.
- Ensure that clinical staff knows the right ways to put on, use, and take off PPE safely.
CONSIDERATIONS UPON PATIENT ARRIVAL
- Recognize the symptoms—fever, cough, shortness of breath.
- Implement procedures to triage and separate sick patients quickly.
- Emphasize hand hygiene and cough etiquette for everyone.
- Ask staff to stay home if they are sick.
- Send employees home if symptoms develop at work.
- Place staff at the entrance to ask patients about their symptoms.
- Provide symptomatic patients with tissues or facemasks to cover mouth and nose.
- Limit non-patient visitors.
- Place patients in a private room as quickly as possible.
CONSIDERATIONS POST PATIENT VISIT
- Provide at-home care instructions to patients.
- Consider telehealth options for follow up.
- After each patient leaves, clean frequently touched surfaces using EPA-hospital grade registered disinfectant
- Implement environmental disinfection protocols and practices to minimize environmental bioburden.
BEST PRACTICES FOR CLEANING AND DISINFECTING YOUR VIVACE® AND TREATMENT STATIONS
- For multi-care patient use equipment, cleaning, and disinfecting in between each patient is advised.
- When cleaning the Vivace® handpiece or LCD screen, first turn the power switch off and inspect your Vivace® for any foreign substances or matter and clean any visibly soiled areas, if present.
- To disinfect your Vivace®, we suggest you wipe the unit with a lint-free cloth soaked in 70% isopropyl alcohol. This will clean and remove any visible matter if present. Once cleaned, or if there is no visible matter, wipe the unit in its entirety with a lint-free cloth soaked in 70% Isopropyl alcohol and make sure the surface remains visibly wet for 5 minutes.
- Another option, and one that is much more convenient, is to use a hospital-grade non-bleach disinfecting wipe and follow the manufactures recommendation for use. Make sure to read the label in its entirety, as sometimes the “surface time” can be hidden in the small print. Surface times can vary from 1 minute to 5 minutes, depending on the product selected. If you are unsure if you have a hospital-grade disinfectant, please go to the EPA website, as they list all approved disinfectants for health care.
Whichever approach you take, an SOP should be available that is reflective of your process. This allows for standardization of practice and is part of your infection prevention and control plan.
AESTHETICS BIOMEDICAL® INC’S COMMITMENT TO SAFETY
Aesthetics Biomedical® Inc. is proud to partner with Bluestone Sunshields to offer the best in class protective facial coverings for providers to wear during treatments and for patients to wear as part of their post-treatment care. Bluestone Sunshields support efforts to manufacture and distribute safety glasses and full-face shields, which are among the personal protective equipment (PPE) most needed by medical professionals at this time. For every face shield purchased, Aesthetics Biomedical® Inc. and Vivace® will match your purchase and donate to a hospital/medical facility in need of personal protective equipment across the United States. Please click on this link to purchase your Bluestone Sunshields.
We will see you next week as we discuss more clinical education updates and useful treatment techniques. Please feel free to send any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The Vivace® Guidelines are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, medical director, or qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. All suggested treatment settings are for suggested use only.