If you are concerned about the possible transmission of COVID-19 you probably should be! We share your concerns as we continue to provide care during COVID-19. In fact, we’d go as far as saying that even during normal times we are “germaphobes”. 😷
With this in mind very early on in recognition of this pandemic, we began to raise our already high infection control standards or “germaphobe” levels of infection control! Our team has Instigated even stricter safety and infection control - Specifically aimed at fighting COVID-19.
Providing the highest level of safety
Our aim of this is straightforward, Provide all our patients with the highest level of safety and infection control possible. And to continue to provide high-quality podiatric care in support of our community.
We do this by using the most up to date infection control policies, procedures and guidelines that are available. We update these multiple times a week if not daily.
Your safety is paramount to us, and so too is the protection of our team of doctors; all are qualified podiatrists. Also, our incredible admin team, who are in the firing line, while continuing to serve others. So these protocols are super important to protect You and also help to protect us.
How to read this?
In the following information, We will endeavour to quickly outline the steps we are taking to Increase the safety hygiene and sanitisation for all patients of our Podiatry clinics.
We apologise for the length. However, you will appreciate that for our patients’ safety, a significant number of procedures are being implemented!
If there is a particular area of interest or concern, then it may be worth looking for the title below. You can also, of course, contact our clinics and ask to speak to Amber, our practice manager, for more details.
Let’s get started.
A strict social distancing policy has been applied across our clinics with the following aspects implemented:
- No more than 1 patient in reception at a time.
- Outdoors Open Air waiting area. Limited chairs are available these are spaced at 2 m apart.
- Call from Car waiting - On arrival At the clinic patients are encourage to call from the comfort of their vehicle. Our team call all patients when the Podiatrist is ready to see them.
Hand Sanitising Stations
On arrival, and before entry in to the clinics, our team will run through a hand sanitising process with all patients.
- All Patients Hands are cleaned with an isopropyl based, medical-grade hand cleaner.
- Gloves are then placed on all patients to discourage the touching of their face and mouth - we have written a significant post around this which we outline the appropriate wearing of gloves - please see our post here for more detail.
Each room in our clinics has additional hand sanitising stations.
All surfaces in the clinic are frequently and regularly cleaned with COVID-19 recommended and approved cleaning agents, as recommended by the Australian health department and world health organisation (WHO).
All surfaces in the clinic have been cleared of any non-essential items.
All clinical services are cleaned with an isopropyl based spray between each and every patient interaction.
Physical barriers of Kim guard are put in place and discarded between patient interactions.
All Electro therapeutical equipment is cleaned with a 70% alcohol/isopropyl based spray.
All floors and hard surfaces are regularly cleaned with a bleach-based cleanser as recommended by Australian health department COVID-19 infection control guidelines.
Personal Protective Equipment
Increased Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is worn by all practitioners. This includes facial Masks, protective gowns, and of course gloves.
Facial Masks are also provided to patients on request. Our team are currently also trialling wearing face shields.
Yes, we can look like we are part of a Lunar space mission at times.
Advanced Patient screening
All Patients are contacted prior to attending our clinics and asked specific Screening questions specific to COVID-19 and travel.
Patients reporting any symptomology are rescheduled until their current Symptomology has cleared for the safety of other patients and team members.
Clinical Surface cleaning and hygiene during musculoskeletal consultations
All clinical surfaces contacted by patients or practitioners are cleaned after each interaction with and 70% isopropyl/alcohol-based cleaning spray as recommended by the Australian Health Department.
In addition to this, a physical barrier is also applied to high contact areas.
Online consultation and Health Teleconferencing - Telehealth
Several initiatives have been implemented in line with recommendations from the Australian Health Department. This has also assisted in reducing non-essential movements in our clinics.
- Telehealth - Musculoskeletal Patients or Biomechanical problems such as lower leg and foot pain may attend consultations via teleconferencing using Telehealth protocols.
Patients such as workers compensation patients see significant benefits from these consultations.
- Telehealth - Diabetic foot education and management advice. Now approved by Medicare, these visits allow patients to be assisted from the comfort of their own home.
- Teleconferenced orthotic checks– is available to all patients. Patients can discuss the progress of their custom-made therapeutic devices with Podiatrist via teleconferencing. The podiatrist can make any adjustments after the device is mailed or “no contact” drop off process implemented by our clinic.
- Drop off and Drive orthotic fittings. Patients are able to drop their footwear to our clinic, taking advantage of our “no contact” drop off process. Their orthotic devices will then be fitted to their footwear in our laboratory by our qualified staff. Patients are then able to repeat the “no contact” drop off process when picking up newly fitted orthotic devices. Our Podiatry team will follow up with wearing instructions via teleconferencing and via written instruction.
Staff training and Updates
All team members including administration team members have undertaken the Australian health department COVID-19 Infection Control training
Our management team continue to source updates from both the Australian and New South Wales Health department on their COVID-19 guidelines. We are in constant contact with the Wentwest primary health network for additional advice and guidelines
YES - It’s an extensive list!
As the director of our clinics, I decided to keep our clinics open for multiple reasons.
Our clinic does not directly fight the COVID-19 virus. This job is left to General practice and hospital-based care. Our clinics need to provide essential care to the local community to alleviate any strain on overwhelmed general practice and hospital systems at a time when their focus needs to be fighting this world-changing pandemic. Podiatric medical needs do not go away. These needs would merely shift to an already overwhelmed system.
From this extensive list, you will see our clinics have implemented significant change, and this has significantly increased our teams day to day workload with these additional measures.
Our job has always been to support and work side by side General practice. To support our local community and to add value to our patients’ lives. Allowing them to stay “Happy, Healthy and Active.”
Staying open while taking these extensive precautions allows us to continue that support and maintain our clinics' goals.
Yours most Sincerely
Dr Brenden Brown
Executive Director, Principal Podiatrist
A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Care