As the current global situation unfolds in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic, many business and clinic owners will be affected and you may be considering what you need to know as an aesthetics practitioner.
Follow the guidance
As a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, surgeons and other NHS workers, Acquisition Aesthetics have compiled the below information for our graduates, based on that which is offered by the NHS and the Department for Health. The advice and guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England is subject to frequent and fast-paced change as the situation evolves and a greater understanding of the virus is achieved. It is therefore important to stay up to date with the latest announcements.
Assess the risk
It’s essential that all practitioners err on the side of caution. You will need to personally assess the risk for your organisation or clinic, but should now be cancelling non-essential treatments for the next few months in order to protect the safety of your patients and staff. If you are continuing to provide urgent/emergency services, it may be wise to send communication out to your patients to reassure them that your practice is dedicated to the health, safety, and wellbeing of its patients and to inform them of the steps you are taking to mitigate the issue through your own practice. The Aesthetics Journal has posted a helpful example notice that you could use as a template.
Paralleling the necessary cancellation of all elective aesthetics procedures, you are encouraged to offer leniency on any usual cancellation penalties for those patients pre-empting the policy and contacting to cancel or reschedule appointments themselves. Where patients are deemed to require urgent or emergency treatment relating to recent aesthetics procedures, proceed with extreme caution should they be experiencing the following symptoms (as outlined by the Centre for Disease Control):
Fever / high temperature
Shortness of breath
Similar caution is imperative if they have been in contact with anyone with symptoms or a confirmed diagnosis, or have been out of the country.
Sensible additional processes will be necessary during operational hours for emergency/urgent care, such as:
-Ensuring unwell staff members do not attend work.
-Practitioners wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all treatments, a mask, and gloves.
-Capped bookings per day to avoid patients converging/crossing over within the clinic and allowing time for additional cleaning measures between patients.
-Extra vigilance with frequent thorough hand washing, and cleaning of all surfaces, door handles, and high traffic areas.
-Provision of tissues and waste bins. Encouragement to engage in Catch it, Bin it, Kill it.
-Provision of educational guidance for your team and any attending patients - the CDC offer a number of printable resources.
You may be wondering what kind of financial support (or other support) is available to businesses at this time and what might be available in the future. Public Health England has outlined a number of planned support measures for small businesses in light of the current crises. These include grant funding, business loan schemes, business rate holidays and SSP relief packages. More information can be found in the COVID 19 – Support for Small Businesses guidance.
Take care of yourself
Remember, the above guidance applies to you, too. Whilst it can be a concerning time to think about the possibility of not being well or available to run or manage your business, your health and the health of those around you must come first. This includes your mental wellbeing in a time fraught with worries and fear of the unknown, so do what you can to find a moment of peace within each day.
Pay extra attention if you identify as a member of the vulnerable or at-risk groups defined by the NHS, or if you experience any of the following emergency symptoms which require immediate medical attention:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to rouse
- Bluish lips or face
This list is not exhaustive. Consult your medical provider for any other severe or concerning symptoms.
As a medical professional, you have the advantage of possessing an enhanced understanding of infection control and risk, and best practice for cross-contamination avoidance, which you can use to better protect yourself and others from catching and/or spreading Coronavirus, whilst carrying out any urgent/emergency treatment.
This is a difficult and uncertain time for us all, but we are confident our country will follow others around the world and come out the other side of this pandemic in the months to come, ready to continue business as usual.