While the vaccine rollout may be in full swing in most areas, the pandemic threat is ever-present, and the world will likely never be the same again.
The global community has learnt a great deal from this pandemic, but equally importantly, the perceptions and expectations of our communities have changed dramatically. It is, therefore, crucial in these times that you give your clients the confidence to visit your practice by demonstrating your commitment to creating a safe environment.
Covid-19 may eventually be a distant memory, but the effects are likely to be lasting, and we all need to adapt to the new normal.
To help ease your clients back into in-person appointments, there are eight essential safety tips and protocols that you can put in place to instil confidence in your practice.
8 Tips to Give Your Clients Confidence in Your Practice
Tip #1: Visual Cues to Communicate Practice Safety
Signage is an important visual communication that you are serious about helping stop the spread of COVID. Here are some ideas of signage that you can use in your practice to make sure that your clients know that you are all set up to keep them safe:
- Place signs on your door and in your waiting room, reminding clients to keep their masks on and regularly sanitise.
- Use signs to indicate that you have taken safety precautions like removing magazines from your waiting room due to Covid.
- Also, using signs to indicate that surfaces are cleaned regularly and sanitised is a great way to give customers peace of mind.
Tip #2: Visible Hygiene Standards
Hygiene has always been vital in the medical world, but now more so than ever. Clients want to know that they are entering a space that is clean and sanitised. Leaving home during Covid-19 can be scary enough, and more so when entering a healthcare practice.
The first and likely most obvious tip is to have sanitiser visible in many places in your practice. Have sanitising facilities available at the entrance, in your reception, rooms and bathroom. Doing this will allow your patients to have multiple opportunities to sanitise and create a sense of safety. Make sure that your bathrooms are also well-stocked with soap so that your clients can wash their hands.
Clean your space regularly and allow your clients to see that surfaces, pens and card machines are sanitised between uses.
Scent is fundamental when it comes to making your space feel calm. Use essential oils or diffusers in your waiting room and bathroom. For example, lavender and rose are excellent scents to help people feel relaxed. These are available at most pharmacies and department stores.
Tip #3: Colour is KEY
Colour psychology plays an important role in the way people react to spaces. Use colours that are associated with calm and cleanliness, while trying not to make your rooms seem too sterile. White, although stark, is a fantastic base colour as it clearly shows dirt. A clean, white surface is comforting as there is no place for dirt (and the associated ‘germs’) to hide.
Pairing white with blue and/or green is a perfect combination for health practices. Blue and green are comfortable colours and known to keep people calm. Green is indicative of nature and therefore reminds people of trees, grass, and fresh air. According to colour psychology, blue is the best colour to use for calm as it reminds people of the sky and the ocean.
Tip #4: Professional Uniforms
The way you dress communicates your professionalism and can also show a commitment to hygiene. Here are four ways you can dress to give your clients confidence:
- Firstly, wear a light colour. Light colours will show that your clothing is clean as any marks are immediately visible.
- Wear a disposable apron and change this between consultations.
- Wear a surgical mask and visor.
- If appropriate, wear disposable medical gloves and change these between clients.
Tip #5: Social Distancing
For many people, it can be worrying to be in a closed-off space, close to other people, with little ventilation. People are now accustomed to social distancing, and this practice will likely be the new normal in a post-Covid world.
Where possible, and on warmer days, make sure that you have open windows in your waiting room. Secondly, be sure to either create space between chairs or use signage on every second chair, indicating that no one can sit there. Ask your staff or receptionist to manage your waiting room, ensuring that clients know where they may and may not sit.
Finally, ensure that you do not book too many clients to ensure you have ample space for everyone. Advise clients that they should not arrive earlier than 15 minutes before their allotted appointment.
Tip #6: Make Technology Your Friend
Telehealth has become a fast-growing norm in the medical profession and has skyrocketed with Covid-19. As a result, more practices opt to move a lot of their daily routines to online platforms. Not only does this have important environmental and efficiency payoffs, but it is also much safer from a hygiene perspective.
Where possible, consider consulting with your clients digitally rather than in person. Use signage and email communication to let clients know this is available. Should face-to-face visits be required, set up online forms for new client intake and health screening so that no physical forms need to be filled out on the day. If you have not done so already, be sure to move all your clients’ files and reports onto a digital platform.
Tip #7: Patient Screening
With online screening, ensure that all the critical safety questions are asked before the clients arrive at your practice. This form should include:
- Have you had a Covid test in the last month?
- Are you waiting on Covid test results?
- Have you had any exposure to anyone diagnosed with Covid-19 in the past 2 weeks?
- Have you displayed any Covid symptoms in the past two weeks, and list these individually: cough, fever, tight chest, headache, loss of taste or smell, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, or an aching body?
Upon client arrival, you might also consider doing a Covid screening by taking their temperature and/or sanitising their hands.
Tip #8: Show Empathy
This step may be obvious but it is one that is often overlooked. A little bit of empathy can go a long way. Covid-19 has instilled much fear in many people, and future uncertainty can be a source of anxiety. Listen to your client’s concerns. Empathise with their worries and offer advice where you can. Listen to any problems and feedback about your practice safety management. You want to make sure that they know that you are there to help and support them through this challenging time and that you care about their well-being.
While the threat of Covid-19 may eventually subside, it’s likely to have a long-lasting impact on how healthcare practices are run and the world in general. Most of us have become a lot more conscious of health threats as we are acutely aware of how this, and other diseases, spread from person to person.
It is therefore essential that patients feel supported during this time and they are assured that you are committed to doing your part. As you acknowledge their fears and take all the precautions you can to stop the spread, you communicate that you value your clients and are working hard to be part of the solution.