Are you re-open ready?
Is your clinic ready to re-open? Have you properly figured out the changes you need to make to enable your clinic to open safely? Do you know what you need to order? Do your clients know what to expect when they attend an appointment post-lockdown?
It is likely that the earliest clinics will open is July 4th. Although, this is not set in stone, what we do know is that, at some point, clinics WILL reopen. What is also likely, is that there will be no vaccine available for Covid-19 when this happens.
This means that practitioners will need to adapt to a new way of working. Personally, I feel that there is no better group of professionals prepared to operate in this new world than a bunch of highly trained nurses, dentists and doctors!
Is your clinic ready?
To ensure the safety of you, your clients and everyone you and they come into contact with, it is advised that you make substantial changes to the way your clinic operates to minimize the risk of transmission of Covid-19.
There are a variety of very detailed publications, listed below:
The JCCP, working with sk:n and the Cosmetic Practice Standards Authority, have published Preparing your Place of Work.
HealthXchange have a created and published a huge range of amazing resources on their Covid-19 Update: Preparing for Life after Lockdown page, so take a look at their detailed documents, protocols, proformas and consents.
The BACN have published a comprehensive suggested operational plan.
Dr Nestor Demosthenous and a team of international experts have written consensus guidelines for the protection of staff and clients on clinic re-opening.
In addition to reading and applying the advice contained within these documents, we recommend that you carry out a thorough risk assessment, specific to your clinic. It is also advisable to contact your insurance provider to check that you will be covered, given any changes you make to how your clinic runs.
Dr MJ Rowland-Warmann from Liverpool Smileworks has helped us summarise some of the changes you may wish to implement, to make your clinic as safe as possible.
Contact those who have booked appointments with a phone call or an e-consult
This conversation allows you to find out about changes to skincare routines, medications and any lifestyle changes which may mean the treatment they want would not be possible or advisable. Many of us have been ramping up our at home skin care or have been out in the garden, enjoying the sunshine.
This may means that laser appointments, skin peels and microneedling treatments will need to be postponed. Likewise, many may have been taking additional supplements or have changed medication which may contraindicate with various treatment plans. This pre-appointment screening saves you time in clinic, allowing you to maximise the treatments you can deliver.
Obviously, appointments should be rescheduled for those who:
- Are vulnerable or high risk
- Have symptoms of COVID-19
- Have been isolating with others who have symptoms of COVID-19
Educate your clients regarding changes to their treatment journey
It is important that you communicate any changes to how your clinic runs with your clients. They will expect differences in the service and experience they usually get, but by managing their expectations, you will ensure a smoother client journey.
The relationship between a practitioner and their client is a unique and strong one. Your clients will be crazily keen to see you, as you will likely be to see them! It is, however, imperative that you maintain a highly professional manner during these times, ensuring social distancing measures are adhered to and the appointment doesn’t become an opportunity to socialise.
Look out for our handy infographic guide to share with clients to inform them of some of the changes they can expect when they come to your clinic.
You should think about using your platform as a medical professional to encourage your clients to adhere to social distancing measures and proper, regular, thorough, handwashing.
Possible changes to your clinic
There isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy when preparing your clinic for re-opening
When considering each of the measures outlined below, and in the documents referenced above, you have to balance whether each of them are practicable and affordable. This information, common sense and the innate knowledge you have as a medical professional, should be employed at all times.
If, at any point, you don’t feel you are able to operate your clinic in a way that guarantees client safety and leaves you beyond reproach…you don’t want to be being questioned in a few months’ time about being a spreader of Covid-19…then you probably shouldn’t open.
Changes to the client journey
- Pre-appointment telephone consult/e-consult
- Pre-appointment client education (regarding changes to their experience during and post-treatment) via email, text or social media
- Appointment only, no walk-ins
- Taking temperature on entry
- One in - one out system
- Clients to wear masks into clinic
- Contactless payments
- Clients wash hands and sanitise on entry to, and exit from, clinic
- Checkup appointments will be carried out remotely, where possible
Changes to your clinic area
- Remove all non-essential items from reception areas (no magazines, flowers, sweets, drinks)
- Move to contactless payments and bank transfers only
- Paperless consents using wipeable tablets
- Screens on the reception desk to shield staff
- Room dividers/markers/spaced out seating to ensure 2m distance
Changes to protocol
- Ensure you are fully prepared for each treatment, no nipping in and out
- Walkie talkies / phones in treatments rooms for emergencies
- Longer appointment times to ensure no client overlap
- Extended clean down between clients (longer days/working weekends to recoup lost income)
- Implement an hourly tick-list cleaning rota
- Review viricidal properties of the skin cleansers you use prior to treatments, consider changing these if there are better alternatives
- Consider using a viricidal mouthwash on clients having lip augmentation
- Ventilate your clinic regularly
- No uniform should be worn to or from work. Carry uniforme to work in a disposable bag. Dedicate one room in the clinic as a changing room. Place dirty uniform in a pillowcase once removed and wash at a minimum of 60 degrees.
It is no secret that PPE is essential in preventing cross-infection. What is also well publicised are the shortages of appropriate PPE. This means that the cost will be high and the lead times.
- The PPE used should be suitable for the treatment being carried out (non-AGP vs AGP, clinical staff vs non-clinical staff)
- Ideally, long gowns, masks, cap, visors, overshoes and aprons should be used by clinical practitioners
- Ensure the masks you purchase are suitable (carry FP2 / KN95 / NP5 marks), intact and fit correctly
- Ensure you follow correct procedures regarding the “donning” and “doffing” of PPE
- Ensure you dispose of single use and sessional use items appropriately
With proper planning, and by taking all necessary precautions, you are not at increased risk of catching or spreading covid-19, and neither are your clients.
Proper planning does take time, money and needs to be implemented effectively and thoroughly. Making a plan is one thing, delivering that plan is another!
If you are unable to take all reasonable and necessary precautions, then you should consider not opening your clinic until such a time that these measures are unnecessary or you are able to take all necessary precautions.