Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was an impact that was felt all around the globe in every field, including plastic surgery practices. Slowly, little by little, some industries are starting to come back, but plastic surgery has not yet reached the point of returning to normal. When the time comes to reopen their doors, there are major safety precautions that will be taken into account, just like with every other business dealing with surgical care.
The first obstacle will be obtaining the PPEs needed to open your practice. There is a nationwide shortage, and the first responders working in emergency rooms and ICUs would be the first to get new shipments.
The number one way to keep everyone on your team informed about best practices is through open communication and continuing education. This not only applies to job security but also about following new rules about cleaning every surface and wiping down items between patients, including things that were previously overlooked pre-virus, such as the receptionist counter area and pens. In addition to a thorough cleaning, patients in the waiting room will now have to sit 6 feet apart. This means that your waiting area should allow for a comfortable distance between clientele, but also adhere to strict guidelines. This will either mean scheduling fewer clients to avoid excessive overlap, or to broaden your waiting space. Signs will also need to be clearly posted about maintaining a safe distance.
In addition to confirming COVID guidelines over the phone with clients, another change to the check-in process will be questions about symptoms or possible exposure to anyone with COVID-19. The staff will have the authority to reschedule appointments if a person’s likelihood of infection puts anyone else at risk.
Not only will doctors and assistants be wearing masks, but the clients should be as well, if possible. This is an industry that requires exposed skin, sometimes up close, so extra precautions will need to be taken on the side of the practice to protect medical personnel.
There are many tools that are used in the field of plastic surgery. Some are used to break through skin and tissue and potentially expose patients to infection. For this reason, tools like awls, chisels, mallets, syringes, pliers, rulers, spreaders, clamps, forceps, cannulas, scissors, speculums, and knives, along with many other instruments, must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after every patient.