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With the emergence of COVID-19, the world has been taken hostage by an unprecedented pandemic. The level of public fear due to the pandemic hasn’t been this high in over a century. Not only does the virus present serious or fatal medical complications for patients, but it has also created confusion, mistrust, and paranoia across the globe.
The healthcare industry is fighting on the frontlines of the pandemic. Patients that need treatment or guidance from their doctors are facing fear about treatment. This reluctance to seek help comes from the fear of being exposed to the virus. It remains up to medical professionals to bridge this gap to ensure their patients get the treatment they need while staying safe from exposure.
Whether you are a dentist, foot surgeon, or general practitioner, it takes patience and understanding to address your patients’ fears during this difficult time. Taking care to treat each patient on an individual level to address their concerns is a part of how you can make your patients more comfortable during the pandemic.
It will be difficult to create universal policies and regulations for your patients during the pandemic. Each case should be addressed with patience and compassion. It’s important to reassure each patient that you and your staff are doing everything you can to keep them safe during an office visit. Make your COVID-19 protocols known and address any questions that patients may have before they visit the office.
Thanks to technology, it’s become unnecessary to put patients in an uncomfortable environment if they need a simple office visit. If your patience is reluctant to come in to see you, you could suggest a virtual visit. Using video conferencing platforms like Skype and Zoom, you can have a face-to-face consultation with your patient while maintaining your distance. Patients can easily talk to you via video from home to discuss any issues that don’t require a physical examination.
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
We are several months into the pandemic, and it has become commonplace to see people in businesses and public wearing face masks. As recommended by the WHO and the CDC, the spread of Covid-19 can be reduced by covering your nose and mouth. Your full staff should be following these guidelines with no exceptions. You can mandate that all patients who visit your office also wear a face covering.
Regular handwashing by all staff should be mandatory, especially after any direct contact with patients. Putting up signs and instructions throughout your office will help your team and patients stay on board.
All high traffic surfaces should be sanitized regularly. This includes waiting room chairs, doors, handles, examination beds, and reception counters. Disinfection should be done routinely after each patient.
The recommended social distance between people to avoid infection is six feet. This applies to all of your patients and staff. This kind of limitation will affect your regular office routine. Start by moving your waiting room chairs to the minimum distance or place signs on chairs that should be left empty. You can also ask patients to wait in their cars until their appointment time or call them to come in when the doctor is ready to see them minimize patient contact.
Medical professionals will need to deal with each patient individually while striving to maintain the safest practices during the pandemic. We are all in this together, and making your patients more comfortable and secure should be your priority.