Your clinical team has had to adapt to a whole new way of administering care since the COVID-19 pandemic landed in the U.S.—and not just for patients with the virus. The highly infectious nature of the disease not only scared some patients into delaying care, but also forced urgent care operators (and all healtchcare professionals) to adapt the way they operate on a daily basis. It’s largely been a process of trial and error. Guidance is now available, at least when it comes to treating children, in the form of an advisory from the American Academy of Peditrics. AAP has determined that enough evidence has amassed to for them to offer the following recomomendations:
- Social distancing, universal face covering on the premises, and hand hygiene should be practiced for patients and their families. Similarly, team members should wear appropriate personal protective equipment
- The facility should be cleaned and disinfected regularly
- Practices should find “creative alternatives” to letting too many people gather in the waiting room. (Some practices have set up online registration and/or are asking parents to call from the parking lot to ensure there is ample space to wait safely; this can help with triage, as wel)
- Consider offering telemedicine services. The AAP advisory notes that telemedicine can be especially useful in conjunction with in-person care, such as in initial evaluation or in screening patients and families for COVID-19 symptoms
- Forge relationships with schools, childcare centers, and public health resources. (For urgent care operators, this would also mean reaching out to traditional pediatric practices)
You can read the entire guidance here.