Facial Aesthetic practices during COVID-19 - Evolving guidelines for the aestheticians and other HCPs
Facial Aesthetic practices during COVID-19 - Evolving guidelines for the aestheticians and other HCPs
January 20, 2022 by eMedEvents

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has led to a complete initial halt of all surgical and medical procedures, more so in the facial aesthetic practices, globally. While many medical practices are being run with online consultations, facial aesthetic procedures fall under a category of medical services where most of the procedures are provided on a one-to-one basis by an aesthetician.

As a few cosmetic practices are gradually opening up, the modus operandi of such acts, detailing precautionary measures for performing such procedures are not clear for aestheticians and healthcare professionals. So, here we have narrowed down a set of guidelines for maintaining a high level of safety measures for the patients, who visits the clinic for treatment as well as for the aestheticians/nurses, and healthcare professionals, who will be involved in the facial aesthetic practice.

How to maintain bespoke safety culture?

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a new shift has occurred from the binary physician-patient relationship. Aesthetic professionals may no longer focus solely on the patient; they must also follow public safety concerns into the equation.

In response to the current continuing COVID-19 pandemic, stringent infection control measures are the need of the hour during facial aesthetic practices. However, the first step towards reopening an aesthetic practice or performing facial aesthetic practice is to understand the prevalence and incidence of COVID-19 in the community, keeping informed with the updated information from the WHO (World Health Organization) and the other major national/local health authorities.

Scheduling patients’ appointments

i) The first and foremost step toward the safety of patients, aestheticians/nurses, healthcare professionals, and clinic support staff is to schedule patient appointments.

ii) Prior appointments must be made compulsory and walk-in patients should be discouraged until and unless it's highly important. Plan to provide appointments at 30-minutes intervals at least. And all the appointments must be made on a dedicated mobile/gadget or online by the front office staff.

iii) It is advised to provide tele-consultations for appointments. Subsequently, for facial aesthetic procedures, the patients can have face-to-face appointments. And always encourage your patients to visit the clinic alone. If they rely on wheelchair, they must visit only with one attendant.

Prescreening patients

Your clinic staff should be oriented to obtain all necessary information on the call during the appointment procedure. This should also include all the required details in the COVID declaration form, which needs to be filled by the patient upon their arrival in the clinic.

It would be good to mandate patience, to produce the COVID-19 negative report beforehand. Patients’ appointments with a travel history of visiting the COVID affected nations/red zone from within the country should be put on hold for 14 days prior to their facial aesthetic procedure at the clinic. Recheck this information when the patient arrives in the clinic.

Screening at the entry of the clinic

i) Security staff and the front desk should be well oriented with all the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines.

ii) All patients, as well as attendants, are to be screened for fever, cough, or breathlessness at entry by wall-mounted/handheld contactless thermometers, and they must be directed to the flu center if anyone faces symptoms during tests at your clinic.

iii) All the patients, who are permitted to visit your clinic must be requested to do compulsory hand and mobile phone sanitization with a foot-operated/automatic dispensing machine.

iv) They should be asked to fill the COVID-19 declaration form, preferably on a sanitized tablet/smartphone, and signed with a sanitized stylus.

v) If you prefer paper forms in your clinic, then the pad and pen should be sanitized before they use and provide a pair of gloves for the patients to avoid contamination.

vi) All the filled documents from each patient should be collected by a gloved staff.  Patients must be informed to dispose the used gloves in a dustbin.

Guidelines for preparing the clinic environment

To ensure the safest possible environment for patients and staff, you should make a few changes in your practice. Here, the major aim should remain providing a pleasant clinic experience for patients without putting them at risk.

The following safety guidelines are highly recommended:

i) Ensure your staff clean and disinfect the clinic according to WHO standards.

ii) Place hand sanitizer and wipe dispensers at the main entrance to the clinic and at every room entrance with a door handle.

iii) At the clinic entrance, contactless temperature-monitoring equipment should be available.

iv) Post a signboard at the entrance reminding patients not to enter the clinic if they have experienced any symptoms in the past week or ten days.

v) Install physical barriers (acrylic sneeze guards) at the front office/reception desk.

vi) Encourage contactless payment if not already available.

vii) Use disinfected covers for any tablets/smartphones needed for electronic signatures, so these may be disinfected after each use.

viii) Remove all non-essential items that comprise touchpoints (For example brochures, magazines, self-serve drink station, etc.)

ix) Fix contactless dispensers for soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, etc. in washrooms.

x) Request patients to wait in their own vehicle until called/texted or set up a waiting area for a single patient outside of the clinic entrance. An electronic waiting equipment/software can be helpful.

Alter staff work schedule

You should make alterations to the working schedules and responsibilities of your clinic staff members so that not all staff are present in the clinic at the same time. This step helps you to safeguard the health of the clinic’s staff.

Guidelines during the clinic appointment:

i) Leave the front door open so that patients will not have to touch door handles.

ii) Greet patients or others with a wave, nod, smile; avoid handshakes or hugs.

iii) Always monitor the patient’s body temperature on entry to the clinic using a non-contact thermometer.

iv) If possible, test patients using rapid antibody fingerstick screening and provide a further layer of protection for your staff members. If you are opting for this method, ensure to proceed only with treatment for those patients, who test IgM-/IgG+ or IgM-/IgG-.  Because, patients testing IgM+/IgG+ or IgM+/IgG- theoretically may be in the viral shedding stage of the disease and should not be treated.

v) Surgical masks must be provided to all patients before entering the clinic. Shoe covers may also be provided, if possible.

Streamline Patient Exposure

i) The patient should be taken directly to the treatment room on their arrival.

ii) Pre- and post-treatment practices should take place in the treatment room ideally (e.g., consent, payment, post-treatment photographs).

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic has mounted severe public health concerns mostly based on the fear of contracting the infection because of the high infectivity rate of the novel coronavirus. However, rationally evolved measures, including; strict patient screening, implementing sanitation measures, social distancing, and taking appropriate graded precautions while performing various categories of facial aesthetic practices may help in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 infection. The importance of a gradual and cautious approach should not be underestimated, and you should take care of every possible measure to ensure a safe experience during facial aesthetic practices.

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