The Coronavirus continues to impact the daily lives of all Americans, including audiologists who serve the senior population. Unfortunately, many of seniors are at-risk for contracting the virus. How do we continue to serve our patients who are in need of hearing healthcare services while protecting the health and safety of those most vulnerable, as well as ourselves and our teams?
Below are three important considerations provided by Audigy’s Julie Stillwell Culp, Director of Strategic Partnerships; Jody Tompkins, Senior Operations Manager Jody Tompkins; Scott Bishop, General Counsel and Director of Corporate Development; and long-time Audigy Member and President of Chesapeake Hearing Centers’ Tim Aland.
Three Important Health And Safety Considerations Every Practice Should Know
1. Each practice must create and adhere to an infection control plan.
Resources for the infection control plan can be adopted from government resources, such as the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and your state and local government agencies. Please take the time to review for yourself and for your team. Consider posting information about how you’re managing this for your practice and your patients on your practice website and your social media pages, so the public knows how you’re carefully managing this in your business.
2. It’s important that practice owners manage their team and the clinical procedures.
Employees, regardless of role, should be educated on the procedures, and be provided information on how to protect themselves from contracting the Coronavirus. It’s also important that employers continue to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act during these times.
For instance, Chesapeake Hearing Centers adopted an alternative-care solution plan for its team, one in which hearing aid services were delivered curbside only. This included new hearing aid fittings, hearing aid repairs, and audiological rehabilitation.
Remote care was also utilized through hearing aid manufacturer software, and remote access, or telehealth care, was provided with video capabilities in the OMS for Sycle and CounselEar. Leveraging the innovations of technology allowed the practice to continue serving its patients while keeping all involved protected from infection because they were informed, prepared, and able to pivot to a new style of service when crisis occurred.
3. Cleaning and disinfecting is critical to lessening the spread of the Coronavirus.
Cleaning surfaces will benefit from the use of soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus on areas such as countertops, light switches, doorknobs, keyboards, and carpets. Disinfecting involves the use of bleach solutions or alcohol solutions (with 70% alcohol) to reduce the same high touch areas.
If a communicable disease is confirmed in the workplace, employers have five (5) basic actions that must be taken:
1. Notification and verification of the disease risk
2. Understand the disease and culling resources
3. Identify the scope of the risk
4. Determine employer responses
5. Handle internal and HR compliance matters
Adhering to the considerations provided in this blog will, hopefully, reduce risks to you, your staff, and your patients. If you’re interested in additional resources related to how practices are navigating the outbreak of COVID-19, or how businesses are adapting to this new business world, please visit our COVID-19 resources pages or contact an Audigy representative. We’d be happy to assist you.