Though I am fully vaccinated, there is still inherent risk involved with my work. Every time a patient comes in to see me, we are both taking a risk. We’re each trusting the other has been wearing a mask, hand washing, socially distancing, staying at home, keeping to their social bubble, and most of all, hoping they are COVID-negative. We’re also hopeful the people we’ve encountered daily in stores, at work, and on the street have been playing it safe. Let’s all do our part to take care of ourselves, each other, and our community. We’re all in this together.
I’m doing my best to provide a safe office environment for patients and myself:
- Constant protective gear: I wear two masks and a face shield while at the clinic. By the way, a face shield is never a substitute for an appropriately fitting face mask. Note that medical professionals are wearing double masks under their face shield.
- Improved air flow: I’ve upgraded my HVAC system, invested in high efficiency air-filtration/exchange units for every room in the clinic. I open my sliding glass doors between patients to allow for even greater air exchange.
- Intensive cleaning: I clean each room and all high touch surfaces after every treatment. The bathroom is sanitized daily.
- Hand washing/sanitizing: I wash my hands repeatedly before, during, and after treatments, as well as use hand sanitizer between washes.
Out of an abundance of caution, though fully vaccinated, my only mask-free, non-distanced interactions are with my husband. Other than that, my entire “risk budget” is spent seeing my patients. My social bubble is my husband and my cat Gilligan. That’s appropriate!
For information about break-through cases and risk due to variants, please see my blog post COVID-19 FAQS & Facts.
Preparing for your visit:
- I am currently asking all patients to double-mask. As a courtesy to me and other patients, please wear masks that fit snugly over your face and will stay in place during appointments. It should cover both your nose and mouth comfortably and securely, and require minimal adjustment if any. If you have to constantly push it back in place, it is not protecting you or me. Watch this video to understand why.
- You must provide your own masks, which you will be required to wear during the entire visit. Procuring appropriate face coverings is the sole responsibility of the patient.
- A good combination of face coverings would be a KN95 as a first layer, since it is snug and conforms to the face, OR a mask with replaceable charcoal filter; and as a second layer, a hospital-style ear-loop mask or reusable fabric mask. Bandanas, neck gaiters, and the like are unacceptable, as they do not provide adequate protection.
- Please come freshly bathed or showered and wear clean, fresh clothes. Proper hygiene is very important.
When you get here:
- Upon arriving at the clinic, please TEXT me that you have arrived. Do NOT call me if you have the ability to text. I am in protective gear that remains in place my entire work day, and do not want to have to remove it to answer a phone communication that can be done by text. As soon as I am available, I will respond with a text to let you know when it is safe to come in and meet me at the bottom of the stairs – which you will need to be double-masked for.
- Because all patients are required to wear masks at all times, you must have your double masks in place before entering the clinic. All patients must wear masks for the entire visit, including while they are on the table during treatment. It is unacceptable to pull your masks down under your nose and/or mouth at any time.
- There is no water or tea service at this time due to COVID. Masks must remain in place at all times. Please properly hydrate before coming inside.
- Please disinfect your hands upon entry to the clinic and again when exiting. As you come in the front door, there is hand sanitizer to your left for your use before coming upstairs and into the treatment room.
- When I come down to the bottom of the stairs to greet you, I will take your temperature with a contactless, infrared thermometer. Additionally, I will ask you questions about your health status, potential exposure and your adherence to social distancing. If everything checks out fine, we will then go upstairs to the waiting area to check your blood oxygen levels with a pulse oximeter on your fingertip. After that checks out, I will happily escort you into the treatment room.
- I will have a contactless payment system for your safety. I will be able to accept Apple Pay, Google Pay and other NFC types of payment. I will still have the ability to swipe and dip, if you have a magnetic strip or chip card, but am trying for as contactless as possible.
- And finally, if you are a returning patient and this is your first time seeing me since the pandemic, you will be required to print out and sign a COVID-19 Informed Consent Form and bring it with you to your first appointment back with me. Download the form here.
- If you are a New Patient, you will be required to print out the entire set of New Patient paperwork which includes the Covid-19 Informed Consent form, and fill out completely ahead of time, and bring it with you to your first appointment with me. Download the new patient paperwork here.
- If you do not have the ability to print out New Patient Paperwork, please let me know in a timely manner so that I can mail all required paperwork to you with sufficient time before your first appointment.
I want to minimize risk as much as possible to you and all of my patients. Please DO NOT schedule if you have any of the following:
- Recent onset of shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Pain or pressure in your chest
- Sore throat
- Bluish lips or painful or discolored toes, lesions or blisters on the toes
- Recent onset of muscle pains
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Unusual skin changes including rashes
- Sudden loss of smell or taste
- Have been ignoring social distancing
- Have possibly been exposed
If any of the following apply to you, please contact me as soon as possible, especially before your next appointment:
- If you have recently travelled out of state or by air
- If you are planning on attending gatherings with people outside your immediate household (defined as those people living under the same roof) or social bubble – and I ask you to please reconsider
- These people may include children, grandkids, parents, other relatives and/or friends who don’t live with you
- If you do attend and you plan on scheduling an appointment, please let me know and allow at least ten days between that contact and your next appointment
- To help understand the invisible risk associated with spending time with people outside your household, here is a visual to communicate the unseen consequences of the social bubble — it’s bigger than you think!
- If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and have an upcoming scheduled appointment
- If you have symptoms of an illness or even a suspicion of illness, and have an upcoming scheduled appointment
- If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, whether you test positive or not, and have an upcoming scheduled appointment
- If I treat you within ten days of developing symptoms of COVID-19, testing positive for it or suspecting you were exposed to it
- If you regularly spend time in a location outside your home where people don’t wear masks and don’t socially distance
- These locations include work places, churches, restaurants, bars, gyms, and social gatherings, to name a few
Again, if any of the above apply to you, please contact me as soon as possible. All of these situations put both of us at increased risk, as well as my other patients.
Until enough of the population is vaccinated, our actions are our best protection.
In the meantime, we need to do what we can with our available resources to keep COVID-19 in check. So hold on, keep wearing masks and social distancing, and please reconsider any family or social gatherings with people that do not live in your household, and take into account everyone’s vaccine status. We are not yet out of the proverbial woods.
If you are questioning whether you should keep an appointment, always feel free to contact me so we can discuss your personal situation.
These procedures and protocols are legally and professionally required of me. It is my job to promote health as well as safe practices. It is my sincere hope that at some time in the future, some or all of these restrictions can be relaxed, but for now we all need to do our part.