COVID-19 Policies and procedures update - 'Wise-Steps' for Stepwise!
Updated: Mar 5
4 March 2021
This post is to let everyone know about our practice policies and procedures that are in place, during the COVID -19 pandemic. Following guidance from both Public Health England and our collective governing bodies of membership that we subscribe to, we wanted to be totally transparent so anyone visiting our site or practice is fully informed. As such be advised that:
Staff/ Practitioner protocol - All practitioners and staff have their temperatures checked daily prior to starting work, the details are logged within our internal system and all staff members have an in-house policy to follow which they have signed and agreed to abide regarding attendance of work and sickness policy if they feel unwell. Track and trace is also utilised in-house for all staff members each time any member of the team works for the practice.
When you make a booking at Stepwise, we will send a confirmation email confirming your appointment with us, which outlines our clinical procedures during the COVID-19 epidemic. We will also contact you again, 48 - 72 hours prior to your booked appointment by phone to check you are still fit and well to attend. In the event we are unable to reach you by phone, we would ask patients to contact us back to answer our screening questions. When speaking with you about this, we will then ask you a few questions, to make sure that it is still appropriate for you to attend your appointment, so that both you and our team are always protected.
1) Is the patient attending for care fit and well at the moment as expected with their usual general health? Yes/ NO
2) Is the patient suffering with any symptoms associated with the COVID-19 virus? e.g., persistent cough, high temperature, loss of taste or smell? Yes/No
3) Has the patient as far as they are aware, had contact over the past 2 weeks, with any person who has been tested positive for the COVID-19 Virus? Yes/No
If the answer to Q2/Q3 is 'Yes' the patient will be asked to re-book their appointment for at least 2 weeks later, with our practice.
If you are attending the clinic, we will ask wherever possible to make use our track and trace poster which is scanned using a mobile phone. This is linked to the NHS screening program.
We ask that you wear a mask (unless you are exempt with a hospital / GP letter).
Hand sanitizers are available for your use when you arrive and leave the practice.
Additionally, we ask that you follow the latest Government guidance relating to symptoms, contacts and isolation so as not to put our team and the community at risk. Please see the latest guidance here.
All correspondence, invoices, and receipts will be sent via email wherever possible to further protect our patients and staff from hand-to-hand contact, so please ensure we have your correct email address if you have one. In the event emailing is not possible because you do not subscribe to this method of contact, we can send a paper receipt, but this will be delayed for 3 days once printed, so that the paperwork can stay isolated, prior to posting.
Card payment receipts can be printed but we would ask the patient to remove their copy from the machine once payment is taken. All payments are con-tactless. Our hand-held machine is also clinically disinfected after each use, if con-tactless is not possible and a PIN has to be used for payment.
You will find physical reminders of social distancing throughout the clinic, including a Perspex frame around our reception desk and patient barrier, situated in the patient seating area. These measures further segregate our waiting area, for continued safety.
All magazines, printed material have currently been removed from our waiting room. We currently are unable to offer patients drinks. However, we have disposable cups if water is needed in an emergency.
Please be aware that any equipment used directly on your skin for treatment is sanitized between use, this is specifically for our shock-wave or ultrasound treatments and when we carry out vascular assessment or diabetic screening using a handheld Doppler machine.
Regarding routine chiropody, where a handheld drill/ burr is used, these are all single use items either disposable and non-disposable items are sanitized and sterilized in an autoclave, which produces a log of the temperature reached and cycle time in accordance with our healthcare regulations. These further assists to help prove our sanitation and hygiene protocols.
The toilet is currently out of use for visitors however, in the event of an emergency we have sanisafe disinfectants and a cleaning protocol, which all staff members are aware of and adhere to. A cleaning log of both the toilet and treatment rooms is stored electronically within our practice.
We have 2 treatment rooms at Stepwise and we ‘stagger appointments’ so that treatment times start 15 minutes apart. For example, first appointment for one room might be 8.45 am; the second room 9.00 am etc. This further facilitates social distancing and reduces patient contact with one another.
We would request that if possible, you do not bring anyone with you to your appointment however, if someone is transporting you to the practice, we would ask that they sit in the car as currently we are not encouraging the use of our waiting room. If you require an escort with you for mobility or health reasons during your treatment, we will ask they accompany you into the clinic room and we will also carry out with them COVID-19 screening questions, as part of track and trace.
Children under 16 will need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian (in line with Child Protection Policy), who will also need to answer COVID-19 screening questions.
Please do not arrive early for your appointment to minimize the risk of contact with other patients. We ask that if you come by car, please wait in your car in the car park until your booked appointment time. Then at your appointment time, please wait at the front door of the clinic and your clinician or receptionist will greet you at your appointment time.
Whilst in the clinic, please observe social distancing, by keeping at least 2 metres from anyone (unless receiving clinical treatment).
Booking and payments
To reduce face to face contact with non-clinical staff, we can now also make any follow up appointments with your clinician whilst still in the clinic room. If our receptionist is busy dealing with a patient either on the phone or in person, we would encourage our practitioners to oversee this, in the treatment room with you for both booking of future appointments or taking card transaction payments.
We are currently unable to accept cash payments.
We have put in place enhanced cleaning measures for all communal and clinical areas. The clinic rooms will be cleaned thoroughly in between every patient, and additional time has been scheduled to allow for this which also includes in addition to couches/ chairs used in the treatment bays; mopping of the floor and walk way areas within the practice, between patients; contact points - door handles, rails; doorbell ( if this has been used).
We have wipe-able seating in all patient areas and have placed a box in each treatment room for you to place your personal belongings.
We will ask all patients visiting the clinic to wear their own face covering. If you do not have one, we will provide you with one at a cost of £1, which will be added to your appointment invoice.
Our clinicians will be wearing appropriate PPE in line with the latest guidelines, which consists of face covering, apron and gloves.
We are following guidance and the evidence that suggests maintaining a good circulation of fresh air reduces risk of transmission of COVID-19. We therefore have windows open throughout the practice to help ventilation.
Please use hand sanitizer when you enter and leave the clinic.
Please refrain from touching anything unnecessary whilst you are in the clinic. If you wish to purchase creams/ products from our shelf only touch these if you intend to buy them.
Our team understand the importance of hand hygiene and will ensure that they wash their hands in accordance with COVID secure guidelines before and after any ‘hands on’ interaction. We have sinks now installed in both treatment rooms to facilitate this procedure and reduce the foot traffic through the reception, to gain access to the washroom. This also further supports social distancing.
We are continually reviewing the most up to date Government guidance and from governing professional associations. As we are an essential healthcare business, we continue to be open for both clinic appointments and home visit care which helps to provide support for your continued health and well-being.
Thank you for taking the time to read our procedures and policy guide.
Warmest wishes from everyone at Stepwise.