Hello! I know it has been a hot minute since I have posted – my apologies. Life has been busy! I also know that the last thing everyone wants to hear MORE about is Covid19. I felt compelled to reach out, however, to offer some thoughts and guidance. I do so, because what I’m feeling is, quite honestly, is a lack of that right now.
We are getting overwhelming news of response and of evolving numbers and data, but not a lot of true guidance. I don’t mean technical guidance being provided by CDC and WHO, I mean practical guidance. In response, people are buying up all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer they can find, as well as non-perishable food and bottled water, and everything is shutting down. I think some of these actions are prudent, while others are a bit of an overreaction. I myself have stocked up on essentials for two weeks (coffee, creamer, and hand soap to name my priorities ?), and cancelled some immediate non-essential travel.
Here is the guidance I am recommending to centers I work with, I thought I would share this guidance with you as well.
- Do not take non-patient temperatures. They are not your patients. What would you do with that information? I do recommend on pre-op calls asking patients and non-patients alike to cancel/not present if they have symptoms. Post signs as well.
- Limit visitors to one caregiver per patient, and limit vendor visits to urgent deliveries only, for the short term.
- Review your Emergency Plan. Use the week to perform a tabletop exercise to discuss/test the plan. Involve your team as much as possible. Update your plan with what you work out. Need a template plan or a tabletop exercise template? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to provide you copies of mine.
- Review your staffing models over the next couple of weeks. Consider two scenarios: staff that have childcare issues due to school and day care closures; and decreased volume of elective procedures due to patient concerns. Come up with tentative “Plan B’s” for both.
- Check your supplies. Don’t hoard (adds to the problem), but make sure you can support your current scheduled volume for a couple of weeks. Talk to your staff about PPE use and “Plan B” options (you may not have your favorite mask available and will need to make do with what is in stock).
- Remind everyone the importance of NOT coming to work with symptoms and being super diligent with hand washing and cleaning. It may seem redundant, but it can never be said too much.
- In my humble opinion, the MOST important thing you can do right now is self-care. When you get home, turn off the television. Put on some great music or read a book (or both!) Accept what we cannot change and put this all into perspective. I trust we are all making good choices, and cannot control everything, but we can control our reactions. Reach out to those you love and trust to catch up, laugh, and focus on what matters most. When we get past all of this, we will be a little wearier and a little wiser, but I trust we will get past all of this – hopefully soon.