Excellent Hygiene Procedures have always been a priority for most Optometric Practices. With various practices re-opening during phase 4 of the lockdown, and the COVID-19 pandemic being far from over has urged practice owners to reconsider how they approach practice sanitisation.
The Corona Virus shows signs of spreading, and you need to be ready. What precautions should you take? How do you keep yourself, your staff and your patients safe during this health crisis? Proactively addressing the COVID-19 issue is the best way to ensure staff and patient safety.
Your practice team must understand what the pandemic entail, the protocol related to the pandemic as well as their role in the process.
On the other hand, your patients must be well informed so that they can have peace of mind when visiting your practice.
Practice Sanitisation Guideline
Effectively communicate with your patients and inform them of the practice protocol and what they can expect when visiting your practice. Ensure that they understand that health and safety is top of mind. Inform your patients of the following:
- You have newly implemented cleaning and disinfecting processes.
- Patients will be seen by appointment only.
- Wearing a mask is compulsory when visiting your practice.
- Only one person per appointment will be allowed into the practice, unless when you accompany a child.
- Be on time as only a certain amount of people will be allowed into the practice at any one time.
- Social distancing apply (At least 1.5m)
- Display appropriate, cleanable signs:
- You must wear a mask on entering the practice
- Pictures of acceptable ways to greet people
- Pictures of handwashing techniques
- You are in a disinfected/sanitised zone
- If you are ill your appointment will be rescheduled
Hygiene Guidelines for Employees:
- All staff to wear the appropriate masks
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds.
- Do not touch your face, eyes or mouth without washing your hands.
- When you do not have water and soap on hand, disinfect your hands with a disinfectant.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, use your elbow or a tissue to cover your mouth.
- Discard the tissue immediately and wash your hands thoroughly.
Practice Sanitizing Guidelines
- Regularly disinfect all hard surfaces during the day.
- For dirty surfaces, use soap and water and paper towels to clean the surface.
- Use antibacterial wipes to clean hard surfaces after the dirt has been removed.
- If you do not have wipes, you can prepare the following disinfectant spray: 4 teaspoons of bleach mixed with a litre of water.
- Wear gloves and use paper towels when you wipe down all surfaces.
- Discard gloves and paper towels after use.
- Clean all computer keyboards at least three times per day. Where possible, do not share keyboards and computers between staff.
- Ensure that you clean all credit card machines, tablets and anything else the patient comes in contact with before and after use.
- Wipe down all surfaces before and after each patient.
- Eliminate clutter as it will make cleaning easier.
- Eliminate bowls of candy and mints.
- Eliminate stationary/pen holders. Sanitise all pens before and after use.
- Greet all patients with a wave or elbow bump, and not a handshake or hugging.
- Use alcohol wipes to wipe down optical equipment in front of each patient. 70% Alcohol can also be used to wipe down instruments.
- Clean doorknobs before and after each patient, or open the door with a paper towel or an antibacterial wipe.
- Ensure that the patient to have access to a disinfectant and tell them that they are free to use is as necessary.
- Sanitise all frames before handing the frame to the patient. Do not put back an unsanitised frame onto the frame shelve or frame board.
- Sanitise the pupillometer in front of the patient before taking a measurement.
- The Optometrist should wash their hands before and after every patient encounter.
- Ensure that the tonometer and all other optical equipment is sterilised before and after each patient.
- Employees with the following symptoms should not come to work or must be sent home the moment the symptoms appear: Body aches, fever, sore throats or any other flu-like symptoms.
When it comes to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is far better to be proactive! The saying goes, rather be safe than sorry! Protect yourself, your employees and your patients. Sanitise your practice!