“Covid-secure”. It is a big title bounced around by many companies/buildings. But what does it mean? The finer details behind being Covid secure will mean different things for different businesses, either way EVERY business should be completing regular Covid risk assessments to ensure they are Covid secure and safe for those people entering the premises (staff or visitors).
As a medical premise, the government have allowed us to remain open throughout the pandemic. They know that as a profession, we take risk assessments very seriously and that we have risk assessments for almost everything! Covid-19 is no different! The great news is that most of the measures we have in place for Covid-19 we were already doing before! Here is a little explanation into how we make the clinic Covid secure and safe for all staff, patients and their carers visiting.
Booking your appointment
All patients are sent a Covid-19 screening form a few hours before their appointment. We ask you to complete this before attending the clinic. If you don’t complete it or you haven’t got an e mail address, we will screen you before entering the clinic. We ask you to cancel your appointment if you or anyone in your house has any symptoms of coronavirus, have been asked to self-isolate in the last 2 weeks, or have been in contact with anyone with Covid-19. With rules about Tiers, lockdowns, travel bans etc. constantly changing, its worth keeping a check on our website for latest rules for entering clinic.
Arriving at the clinic
When you arrive at the clinic you will be greeted by these very unwelcoming signs. In ordinary times we have a beautiful welcoming waiting room with free coffee, tea, magazines – it’s the place to hang out, but alas, thanks to this pesky virus we can’t have people mingling around at the moment. So, for now our waiting room is closed and we ask you to wait in your car until you are called to your appointment.
You may notice that we have yellow tape and pads on some of our doors. These are ‘safe pads’. Safe pads have an antimicrobial coating that contains silver ions. These silver ions inhibit microbial growth. The slow release of these silver ions provides long-term antimicrobial protection. These anti-viral properties mean that safe pads, in conjunction with regular cleaning, greatly reduce infection rates on problem areas – such as public push doors. We have them on the front door and bathroom doors.
Since December 2020, whilst the new strain of the virus is so prolific in the area, we have made the decision to provide all patients with a fluid resistant mask. As this strain is over 70% more transmissible, we felt it safer to ensure everyone is in a medically tested mask. This is for 2 reasons:
1) We know the mask we issue is fresh and has no contamination (masks are only meant to be worn once then washed or disposed of but we know not everyone does this EVERY time.
2) Cloth masks vary in thickness, materials, etc, therefore their efficacy varies. By providing you with a fluid resistant mask (the same masks as worn in wards by staff) the 3 plus construction prevent particles escaping. It is also fluid resistant. They are fully tested and known to have a bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) rate of 95%.
So basically, whilst we both wear one of these, we are protecting each other from our particles we breathe out!
On arriving at the clinic, we will ask you to wash your hands. We don’t offer hand gel as its horrible for your skin, lots of people are allergic and there is nothing as good as a proper hand wash – whilst singing along to happy birthday of course! The soap and water are automatic to reduce touch points and we have paper towels to dry your hands after, with a foot pedaled bin for any waste.
Your podiatrist will take you straight to the clinic room. As you go past the reception desk you will see our lovely practice manager Sharon safely behind some screens. These are to protect our lovely Sharon.
PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment. Firstly, you may have noticed us wearing scrubs instead of our usual tunics. Although the tunics could be washed at a hot temperature, the colour does fade. We have invested in these lovely scrubs (they feel like wearing pjs!). On arriving at clinic we change into them (and again out of them before leaving clinic) and they get washed at 60 degrees after every shift. We wear a single use disposable apron and whilst we are treating, we wear single use nitrile gloves. Finally, we wear a Type IIR fluid resistant mask which is sessional, and a face visor which is cleaned between each patient. Even our shoes get washed in the machine at the end of every session!
Our clinic room is warm and inviting, whilst also being practical. You will find the couch has been covered with a surgical medical grade, antimicrobial vinyl. We have a wipeable Perspex screen affectionally known as a “sneeze screen” for added protection. Our chairs are also wipe clean and the desk has a specially made plastic top to ensure it is wipeable without degrading the surface which could allow a breeding ground for bugs. Between patients, we clean everything which is in contact with the patient. This includes the couch, screen, trolley, desk, patient chair, card machine, door handles using clinell wipes. These are antimicrobial and antiviral. The floor is hoovered and mopped using a diluted bleach mixture with all instruments are cleaned following specialist procedures and all PPE is disposed of in our clinical waste. It goes without saying there is lots of hand washing between lots of these stages!
You may notice Gizmo in the corner of the room:
This clever little unit has a 3 part HEPA filtration system using a unique combination of electrostatic and mechanical filtration. It cleans the air in the treatment room once every TWELVE minutes! It is on 24/7
So as you can see we have really thought all of this through and we have lots of measures in place to ensure EVERYONES safety. You will see from many of our reviews, our patients agree they feel very safe visiting our clinic. We hope you will agree. Stay safe everyone,