Pandemic Practice Prep
Reopening for business has been a gamble during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, if given the option, we need to safely begin resuming care as quickly as possible. Your patients may have questions about whether or not they should see you during this time. If you’re in an area where reopening is possible, there are some things you can say to ease the minds of patients looking to get non-emergent dental work. If your patients are asking “Should I go to the doctor or dentist for non-urgent appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic?” Reassure them via email, automated text, or however your office choose to communicate, of the steps you are taking to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Include specific protocols you have in place to ensure the health and safety of all who enter your practice. The reality of disease transmission relies on sufficient protection against it, which means that your patients will hold you accountable for keeping them safe in more than just the dentist’s chair.
What the Pros Recommend
CDC recommendations include general hygienic procedures for both patients and professionals, such as:
- Wearing a mask in all relevant situations, even amongst co-workers in areas like break rooms, and minimizing physical bottlenecking that can create issues of proximity during busier hours. This rule does not apply to patients undergoing procedures that require full sedation, infants under the age of two years old, and individuals with respiratory difficulties or inability to properly equip or remove their mask.
- Remove any items like magazines, business cards or flyers, and waiting room toys as to limit germ transmission. For items that you can’t take away, be sure to complete a minimum hourly sanitization process, such as using antibacterial wipes or inoffensive cleaners that also limit disease causing agents. Having signage that tells your patients that you are committed to a sanitized area is incredibly helpful in easing the minds of those visiting your office.
- Finally, ensure that there is both adequate, legible signage in all public areas that require patients to wear a mask. Provide disposable masks for those who may have forgotten them, and possibly hand sanitizer. All of these redundant steps will work towards a clean, safe environment for all of your patients and staff.
Pre-screen Your Patients
Try to implement a pre-appointment teledentistry triage. This practice is great for screening patients via phone call or text for any potential COVID-19 symptoms before they enter your office. Additionally, there’s an extended benefit of holding yourself accountable for the welfare of your office staff and other patients. It’s important to have those coming in to properly assess their current condition. A simple scheduled phone call and a few quick questions pertaining to the current status of uncontrollable cough, sneezing, or fever will be sufficient. By taking in-office precautions and effectively pre-screening, you will be able to provide valuable care and service for your patients during a difficult time for everyone.