The coronavirus has literally taken over - all major professional sports have been suspended, major public events have been postponed, many schools are extending spring break, and most universities are moving to remote classes. Many businesses are having employees work from home to prevent the spread of germs and disease, but this is not an option for healthcare providers. So what does the Coronavirus mean for those of us in healthcare?
Physicians, nurses, and the healthcare community are going to be the ones to deal with this outbreak and it can be especially frightening for those in small practices, who do not have large resources to deal with a pandemic such as this. We are offering some steps to help ensure that your practice is prepared.
1. First and foremost, do not panic. This sounds simple, but might be the most important thing for a practice to do. As hand sanitizer, soap and toilet paper are being sold out in record amounts, panic is continuing to spread. It is even more important that healthcare providers and support staff remain calm and reassure patients to the facts of coronavirus.
2. Handwashing. Again, this sounds simple, but ensuring staff is washing their hands or using alcohol based sanitizer between patients is important. Staff should be encouraged to wash as often as possible to limit the risk of possibility of spreading germs and disease. Not only is it important for staff to wash hands, but also patients. Be sure to emphasize the importance of hand washing during visits with your patients. The World Health Organization has a chart that explains the proper method step by step - share this with your patients.
3. Screen patients for international travel when they check into the clinic. Anyone with travel to effected areas, such as Asia and the Middle East, should be screened for symptoms. Those with symptoms should be tested, if possible. Right now, tests are not readily available and so anyone with symptoms should be quarantined.
4. Sanitizing. Ensure that exams rooms and waiting rooms are routinely cleaned as patients rotate through the clinic. This is common practice already in most clinics, but is especially important to ensure to prevent the spread of disease. Make sure that soap and sanitizer is available for patients as well.
5. Information is constantly being released. Be sure to keep up with as best you can. Nolan Health Care Solutions will be continually posting updates and recommendations. You can also find our recommendations for resources to continue to monitor on our blog.