Wash your hands, cover your face and socially distance – the whole world is rightly following that mantra just now, but at Visioncall, we take our hygiene and safety measures a step further for all home visits.
Good hygiene has always been a fundamental part of what we do and how we operate, but it has never been more important than during the global Coronavirus pandemic.
Already operating with strict hygiene measures in place, we responded to the crisis by immediately implementing an updated hygiene and infection control policy, allowing our optometrists and opticians to safely visit patients in need of urgent treatment in care homes limiting the risk of virus transmission.
We are committed to ensuring the safety of our team, care home staff, and, of course, our patients, so this policy supports care homes at every stage.
The policy continues to evolve as the situation changes so that our practice remains as safe as possible.
To reassure you, our service users and clinical partners, we share an insight into what a Visioncall appointment looks like now, from start to finish, with these infection control measures in place.
All Visioncall clinicians have undergone Infection Prevention & Control training, reviewed regularly in line with governing bodies’ advice.
We have embraced working from home, and we’ve worked hard to reduce the touchpoints during appointments, making changes such as digitising our record card keeping.
We are currently prioritising essential and emergency sight tests to limit our attendance at care homes, but we are always here for you, whenever you need us.
We also now operate a one-to-one remote triage service for homes that we cannot visit personally, so treatment is always available.
When we need to attend an appointment at a care home, we contact the home 72 hours in advance, and again on the day of the clinic, to ensure there are no active Covid-19 outbreaks.
We always offer to send our Infection Control Policy ahead of the visit for care home staff to review, and we discuss our specific protocols with them, including the PPE they can expect us to wear.
Our optometrists and opticians are fully briefed before every appointment, and they are provided with full PPE and sanitising equipment, including hand gel.
We aim to have only one team member visit care homes and travel there alone.
On arrival, we don a face mask, complete the home’s Covid-19 checks, including completing temperature logs and undergoing lateral flow tests, and we wash our hands thoroughly.
All outerwear is left in the car, or we bag this upon entry.
Once our checks are complete, we locate a private testing area which offers good ventilation.
We sanitise all the surfaces and don full PPE – this includes gloves, surgical masks, aprons and visors.
Sight tests are slightly different now. We have adapted our routines to observe social distancing and try to minimise physical contact with patients wherever possible.
So we may ask patients to remove their spectacles or lenses themselves, pull their lower lids down if eye drops need to be administered, or to avoid touching their eyes, mouth and nose.
Following a sight test, we sanitise all surfaces again and all equipment, spectacle frames and anything else that the patient may have been in contact with.
We remove our gloves and apron, and don a fresh set, in preparation for the next patient – we also regularly wash our hand’s in-between appointments before donning fresh PPE, or whenever we think that our hands may have become contaminated in any way.
All used PPE is discarded into an appropriate clinical waste bag. We again wash our hands before exiting the home.
We update our record cards digitally and keep in touch with the home to be updated with any outbreaks or the potential requirement to self-isolate or get tested, as necessary.
The safety of our team, care home staff and patients is of the utmost importance. We are happy to answer any questions you may have around how Visioncall is working to limit the risk of transmission, every day.
If you’re concerned about a friend, relative or patient’s vision or eye health, get in touch to make an appointment.