As states across the country have begun to ease restrictions and many businesses have reopened, many have experienced an increase in new COVID-19 cases. Although other countries are reporting a decline in new cases, the US continues to set records for the number of new cases over the last few weeks. Due to this recent upward trend, it’s essential that businesses, including dental and health care providers, continue to keep safety and PPE inventory levels top of mind.
Below are three steps dentists can take to prepare their practice for a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections.
Implement a Contingency Plan for PPE items
To stay ahead of future fluctuations with COVID-19, practices need to be strategic. Implementing a plan for managing your practice’s stock of the safety items, including the PPE and other supplies required to provide patient care. The plan should take into consideration item shortages and possible delays with fulfilment. To overcome barriers to obtaining supplies, it’s important to do your homework ahead of time. Identify multiple sources for high-quality PPE products from trusted suppliers to reduce the chances of running low on essential supplies.
Create a Communication Plan for Patients
Continue to have open, regular communication with patients. Let them know what steps the practice is taking to follow the state and national guidelines to enhance their safety while in the office. This should include any changes to office protocols, PPE that will be worn during their visit, what to do in the event they develop COVID-19 symptoms prior to their appointment and how postponed or cancelled appointments will be handled due to a secondary outbreak. Aside from verbal interactions with patient’s, using window and door signage to remind visitors of new office procedures, sending email alerts and regularly updating the practice website with important safety information can help.
Train Your Staff
In order to minimize risk and protect their safety, employees must learn how to prepare for and respond to a COVID-19 exposure. This includes training on how to use new PPE items, including putting it on and removing it, how often it should be changed or sanitized as well as storage requirements. Talk with your employees about your supply shortage strategy, so that everyone understands how and when all PPE items will be used. Staff should also be training on how to properly disinfect shared spaces around the office, including waiting areas, exam rooms, bathrooms and break rooms.
To keep everyone as safe as possible while in your practice, you will need to remain diligent about managing your inventory of safety items and proactively identifying additional, reputable suppliers in case of supply shortages and fulfillment delays. To reduce your risk of running out of necessary supplies, we recommend keeping a month’s worth of inventory on-hand and allowing up to two weeks to receive your orders.
If you experience difficulty obtaining PPE from your usual supplier, Shumsky may be able to help. If you are in need of disinfecting sprays and wipes, please contact us at [email protected] for more information