With all the shutdowns and misinformation going on right know during the COVID-19 emergency, who do we listen to? First, make sure you have good communication with your dentist. Your dentist is being updated though the ADA, and in our case, the TDA (Texas Dental Association). Additionally, be sure to use your local AADOM chapter connections. Do your due diligence to keep up with your specific local and state health departments; they’re the ones that will advise your mayors and governors as to what actions should be taken for the health of your community.
Make sure you and your dentist have a plan in place for closers and if you can and do decide to stay open. I can only speak for Austin and Texas up to the moment of writing this piece, but good practices will help us get through this COVID-19/coronavirus. We’re a prosthodontic office, so we see people into their late 90’s and 100s whose cleanings are part of their monthly healthcare.
As of today, we are only seeing healthy patients that are within the 14-day parameters the CDC has set in place for COVID-19. We have rescheduled all patients that have asthma, COPD, compromised immune systems and are above the age of 65, into late May and June. For patients that don’t fit into those categories, we’re giving them the choice to come or reschedule later in the summer.
For those patients that have appointments or want one, these are the steps we take before they come in:
- Ask, “Have you been out of the country or out of Travis/Williams counties?”
- Ask, “Have you been around anyone that has been out of the country or out of Travis/Williams counties?”
- We let our patients know that if they want to wait in their car before their appointment, we will text them when they can come in if they don’t want to wait in the reception area.
- We have removed the coffee station in our waiting room.
- After every patient has stepped back to see the dentist, I glove up, get a Caviwipe, and wipe down the doorknobs and any surface the patient might have touched. If they stopped at the restroom it is wiped down as well.
- After I check out each patient, I do the same as above and I also wipe down the credit card processor.
- If more than one patient needs to check out, the RDA brings up the patient and stays with them and makes sure that each person has a six foot distance between them.
- If I have more than one patient checking out, I Caviwipe our front counter and credit card processor after each use.
- To eliminate having more than one patient checking in or out, we are adding a 15 minute time slot before and after each appointment so that we have as little interaction with the public as possible.
Hopefully this list has given you a few ideas as to what you can do to adapt your practice to keep seeing patients (within safety and legal guidelines, of course.) We are only here because of our patients, and they are just as concerned as we are about what’s going on in the world today.
Remember that your health is your greatest concern; if you don’t feel comfortable at work during the COVID-19/coronavirus crisis, let your doctor know. If you have an employee that doesn’t feel comfortable working, talk to them, and make it a volunteer-based work schedule. Go over payroll with your doctor and employees so that there isn’t unnecessary worry or uncertainty.
Remember Keep Calm and Carry On.
Jennifer Randall, FAADOM is a former U.S. Army medic with over 25 years of administrative experience. She received her FAADOM in 2019 and is Chapter President of the AADOM Austin Chapter. When Jenn has spare time, you can find her working with metals and creating art pieces in her home studio. She and her husband Bob enjoy being parents to several fur babies.