Posted on by CosMedical Technologies

As business restrictions begin to lift, the prospect of opening your doors is on the horizon — but it won’t be business as usual for awhile yet. There are a number of health and safety considerations that will impact your day-to-day operations. Start planning now with these tips to make sure your reopening is safe and smooth as possible. 


MAKE A SAFETY PLAN

The first priority, of course, is to keep your staff and patients healthy. Start with a workplace assessment to evaluate the ways employees might be exposed to the virus at work, then create controls to address these risks. 

Facility constraints to reduce exposure:

  • Limit the maximum daily on-site staff to essential workers
  • Allow employees to work remotely wherever possible
  • Place a cap on the number of patients allowed in the facility
  • Offer a limited menu of lower-risk services  
  • Arrange waiting room seating to ensure patients must sit least 6 feet apart
  • Install physical barriers, like clear plastic sneeze guards, at the check-in desk and any other appropriate locations 

Operational changes to minimize potential spread:

  • Perform health screening for staff and visitors upon entry 
  • Prevent congregation in break rooms and other communal spaces wherever feasible
  • Reduce sharing of potentially contaminated tools and surfaces (e.g. pens, clipboards, computers)
  • Limit need for face-to-face interactions with patients and between staff members 
  • Provide virtual patient consultations to reduce unnecessary on-site visits
  • Reduce patient wait times and appointment volume

Safe day-to-day work practices to help prevent infection:

  • Utilize social distancing strategies whenever possible for face-to-face interactions 
  • Provide and enforce use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff
  • For enhanced protection, require or provide PPE for visiting patients
  • Disinfect high-risk surfaces and sterilize tools after every use
  • Regularly sanitize all workspaces

PREPARE YOUR FACILITY AND STAFF

Before opening your doors, make sure you have resources, strategies, procedures, and policies in place. Create a checklist customized for your individual business needs. If possible, assign a designated coordinator to help you organize and execute key steps. 

Handle physical setup tasks:

  • Perform a thorough deep-cleaning
  • Restock necessary business supplies
  • Order PPE, hand soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, disinfectant cleaners
  • Strategically place cleaning and hygiene supplies throughout facility
  • Rearrange workspaces and patient areas as needed
  • Post safety and informational signage for staff and patients

Educate and train staff to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including:

  • How this coronavirus is transmitted 
  • Signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • How and when to use PPE
  • Respiratory etiquette
  • Personal hygiene practices

Create and distribute safety SOPs, including:

  • Patient contact and interactions
  • PPE requirements
  • Cleaning and sterilization procedures
  • Exposure protocols

Establish employee policies and procedures, including:

  • Working from home 
  • Suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • Healthy workers with a sick household member at home
  • Returning to work after recovering from illness
  • PTO and sick leave

Create a patient relations strategy, including:

  • How and when to announce reopening 
  • Informing patients about changes to services and hours of operation
  • Setting expectations and communicating requirements with patients prior to their visit
  • Reassuring patients about established health and safety precautions 
  • Screening and handling patients who appear to be symptomatic

STAY INFORMED

The above tips aren’t comprehensive or universal. Circumstances will continue to evolve, so it’s important to remain up-to-date and compliant with local, state, and federal health guidance and regulations. Do your research, stay abreast of CDC and OSHA updates, take advantage of the many valuable educational resources available — and as always, CosMedical will be here to support you in any way we can. 


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