As states are beginning to open up one by one and medical practices are able to re-open and perform treatments, it is important that we still remain vigilant in helping protect ourselves and our patients from COVID-19. The biggest theme going into reopening is ensuring that both your staff and your patients feel safe and you are communicating honestly and openly with them.
You’ll want to double check with your state to determine if and when you can open, and what procedures and treatments are allowed or if there are any restrictions. You will also want to check your state’s guidelines for opening up and what policies and procedures they may require you to implement.
We put a list together of policies and procedures to think about implementing once you are allowed to open your practice and things to be thinking about to prepare yourself, your practice, and your patients.
- Decipher which employees you deem essential to return to work, and what it will look like for them if and when they return.
- Ensure employees follow PPE and sanitation requirements.
- Consider implementing a temperature check or screenings for employees each day.
- Put together a plan of action in case one of your employees contracts COVID-19 or comes into contact with it.
- All staff must be able to follow social distancing requirements with fellow staff and patients.
- Develop and post a guideline/protocol for safe treatment of those patients seeking aesthetic procedures/treatments during the Covid-19 pandemic
- Require clients/patients to answer appropriate screening questions prior to the scheduled appointment. This can be done a few days prior to the client/patient’s scheduled appointment allowing time to reschedule the appointment if warranted.
- Consider a temperature check of all patients/clients prior to entering your office
- Remove all materials that clients/patients may be touching such as magazines and brochures from your office space
- Consider requiring a Covid-19 Risk – Informed Consent to be signed by all patients that you are treating
- Provide or require all clients/patients to wear masks upon entering your office. Encourage clients to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon entering as well.
- Limit number of patients being seen at a certain time and limit or eliminate seating in the waiting room to encourage social distancing. Consider calling or texting patients when it’s their turn to enter your office.
- Communicate your policies to anyone coming in for an appointment so they are aware ahead of time.
- Require anyone showing symptoms such as a fever to remain home and reschedule their appointment.
- Continue to perform any appointments via telemedicine if possible, including any initial consults or follow up appointments.
- Rearrange your office space and waiting room to ensure everyone can practice social distancing properly.
- Perform a thorough cleaning before opening back up.
- Set cleaning and sanitizing guidelines that are performed after each patient, cleaning all surfaces that a patient may come in contact with. You may want to consider more time between patients to allow for appropriate disinfection of all surfaces between patients.
- Add plexiglass in front of the front desk to protect staff and patients.
- Limit hours of operation to help limit exposure.
- Consider touchless methods of payment such as requiring credit cards on file for payment to avoid contact.
- If signing of any materials is required (consents or credit card receipts), consider having a container labeled “sanitized pens” and another one labeled “dirty pens”.
As mentioned before, it is critically important to communicate your new procedures and policies with your patients as much as possible. You want to make them feel safe in a time when many people don’t feel safe. Once you are open again, it may be worth calling each of your patients individually and letting them know you are open, you are implementing safety precautions, and you are happy to get them back in the office once they are ready. As always, please be sure to follow the guidelines outlined by your specific state as it pertains to reopening your practice.
Please note that this is purely advice and is not the standard for all states and practices. AAI is not liable for any actions taken by independent practitioners or practices and the guidelines and protocols they use in re-opening their offices.