While COVID-19 still has a stronghold across the country, many employers have made the decision for people to return to the office. Whether it’s a hybrid model of working from home part-time or a full-fledged return to in-person workdays, companies must be mindful to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
If you work at a healthcare facility, keeping staff safe is especially important right now. Healthcare workers are essential to fighting this virus, and when they’re out sick, they’re unable to do so, which makes someone else’s job harder. In fact, one study found that increasing a nurse’s workload by just a single patient increased the likelihood of that inpatient dying by 7% within 30 days.
Here are four ways to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak at your medical practice.
Hire an Infection Control Consultant
While personally doing a safety assessment of your work environment might help, leave this important job to experts trained to do specifically that. Consultants in infection control see risks that others won’t and will likely find room for improvement at your clinic. Best of all, these consultants don’t even need to be physically present to examine your work environment: most will offer virtual assessments to determine if your medical practice is well-protected.
Offer PPE for All Staff AND Patients
Now that N95 or KN95 respirators are recommended as protection against the especially transmissible Omicron variant, some staff and your patients might need to upgrade their cloth masks. Why not offer them at your office to further promote COVID-19 safety compliance? While your clinic might have good access to authentic respirators, here’s a guide for how to determine if an N95 mask is real to send to your patients. Offering face shields in addition to respirators is another way to help staff level up their PPE. While not a substitute for masks, they offer an additional layer of protection from aerosol droplets.
Rethink Your Workspace to Promote Social Distancing
Are you cramming patients into tightly packed waiting rooms? Rethink this approach and spread chairs apart to prevent patients from infecting each other. Better yet, invest in a social distancing tool to keep patients in their cars until the time of their appointment. Remember: keeping patients from catching COVID-19 from each other will also further protect your staff! Additionally, consider adding structures like sneeze guards to areas like the front desk if you haven’t already done so.
Promote Regular COVID-19 Testing and Vaccinations
With COVID-19 hitting record highs across the map, frequent testing is important to keep the community safe. Require staff to regularly undergo COVID-19 testing, and offer it to your patients as well. If your practice isn’t mandating vaccines for staff, then consider offering incentives and educational materials to help promote compliance. Lastly, ensure your office is set up for quick and easy COVID-19 vaccination scheduling in order to combat the further spread of the virus.
Additional Resources for Preventing COVID-19
While these tips are a great start to protecting your staff, the CDC provides further guidance to preventing COVID-19 at businesses that you might find helpful. Their website provides an in-depth breakdown of recommendations for workplaces of all kinds, many of which will apply to medical practices.
Still looking for a solution to promote social distancing, testing, and vaccinations at your clinic? DocResponse is a one-stop shop for software that has a multi-layer approach to fighting the transmission of COVID-19. Schedule a demo today to get started!