Ford Health COVID Safety Plan

Introduction

This plan provides members of the Ford Health team guidance on operating in a COVID-safe way, and helps identify and mitigate risks during the ongoing pandemic.

Purpose and objectives

Our practice is dedicated to the health, safety and wellbeing of all team members, clients, contractors and visitors. In this pandemic environment, we acknowledge additional precautions are required and that these are outlined in this COVID Safety Plan.

Practice access and client flow

To control the flow of people into and through the practice, we will:

  • screen clients for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure before they attend
  • request proof of COVID vaccination status and allow access to the practice based on current recommendations
  • have a management plan in place for clients presenting with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 which enables immediate isolation of that client, as well as the requirement that the client don of a surgical face mask to reduce risk of transmission
  • ensure appointments are booked to limit clients in reception and crossover of clients
  • define appropriate social distancing throughout the practice using floor markings and signage
  • display information at the entrance and ensure clear messaging on the website and in appointment confirmation emails asking clients not to enter if they have COVID_19 symptoms
  • display information at the entrance outlining the requirements of entry ie to be free of COVID-19 symptoms and not attended any COVID-19 exposure sites
  • require all people entering the practice to don a face mask (clients are asked to bring their own, but will be supplied with one if they present without a mask)
  • provide access to hand-hygiene products (alcohol-based sanitiser) at appropriate locations throughout the practice
  • arrange telehealth consultations for clients if more appropriate

Physical distancing

While acknowledging the nature of medical care means maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 m with a client is not always possible, our practice will put in place physical distancing measure by:

  • providing training to all members of the team
  • taping a line on the floor 1.5 m as a physical indicator
  • minimising client congestion in the reception and hallways by appointment timings
    • limiting the number of people on the premises at any one time
    • spacing furniture in reception

Use of personal protective equipment

Appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is critical in limiting the spread of COVID-19. All members of the practice team will:

  • ensure standard precautions, including hand hygiene, cough etiquette and appropriate waste-management techniques, are maintained
  • be trained in donning and doffing PPE
  • wear PPE appropriate to the client presentation and as per advice from the local public health unit
  • dispose of all used PPE in accordance with standard precautions.

Testing and Consultation

Ford Health will ensure that only appropriate testing is conducted that will not put the client or team member at risk of COVID transmission

  • Higher risk tests like spirometry will only be performed if deemed clinically important. Higher rated filters will be used if tests are required.
  • Treadmill testing will only be performed if safe to do so. A portable air filter may be placed in the testing lab when deemed necessary.
  • Hand sanitizer and masks to be available throughout the practice and clients are to be encouraged to use this regularly
  • Only disposable paper examination couch liners will be used instead of linen
  • Showers, change rooms and towels will not be available to clients. Water will only be provided in single use bottles to be kept by each client.
  • All surfaces and equipment to be cleaned after each client

Environmental management and cleaning

Our practice will regularly clean and disinfect shared spaces, surfaces and communal items. Our practice will:

  • adhere to strict environmental cleaning as per the most current advice from the Department of Health’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Environmental cleaning and disinfection principles for health and residential care facilities or our local public health unit
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces with detergent and disinfectant wipe/solution between each episode of client care – using a cleaning detergent followed by a disinfectant, or a two-in-one product with cleaning and disinfecting properties
  • display cleaning protocols in all work areas
  • provide training to all staff members on environmental cleaning requirements

Record-keeping

To aid contact tracing in the event a client, team member, contractor or any visitor to the practice tests positive for COVID-19, our practice will:

  • maintain a record of all client appointments (including recording people accompanying the client), team member work times, and contractors/visitors to the practice, including entry and exit times
  • utilise a contactless electronic system (ie QR code or similar) to record contact details, ensuring data is stored confidentially and securely and is only used for the purpose for which it was intended
  • retain a record of client’s COVID-19 vaccination status in their personal file

Practice team management and limiting interactions in closed spaces

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission between practice team members, we will:

  • regularly communicate with all team members regarding the requirement to not attend the practice if they have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, regardless of how mild, and will encourage testing in line with local public health unit advice
  • support any team member who tests positive for COVID-19, or is identified as a close contact or is required to self-isolate – including by making them aware of their leave entitlements
  • ensure face masks are worn by all staff across business when mandated
  • encourage physical distancing in common areas (ie tea room), through organisation of furniture, floor markings and signage

Responding to a positive case, or close contact, in the practice team

If a member of the practice team tests positive to COVID-19, our practice will:

  • contact the local public health unit and follow their advice
  • follow the direction of the local public health unit regarding cleaning of the practice
  • ensure the team member does not return to the practice until they meet the criteria for release from isolation, and as instructed by the local public health unit
  • assist the local public health unit in contact tracing by proving records of all clients, team members and visitors who have attended the practice during the period in which the team member was potentially infectious (as defined by the local public health unit).

Responding to a positive client who has attended the practice

If a client who has attended the practice subsequently tests positive to COVID-19, our practice will:

  • contact the local public health unit and follow their advice
  • follow the direction of the local public health unit regarding cleaning of the practice
  • ensure any team member who had contact with the client isolates and gets COVID tests as recommended. They are not to return to the practice until they meet the criteria for release from isolation, and as instructed by the local public health unit
  • assist the local public health unit in contact tracing by proving records of all clients, team members and visitors who have attended the practice during the period in which the client attended and was potentially infectious (as defined by the local public health unit).