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Reassuring and Protecting Patients

Brooke Hossfeld, MPH, CIC, MLS (ASCP)CM Infection Prevention Specialist

A Year of Concern

Everywhere we go this year, we all take steps to protect our health and the health of our loved ones. Combatting feelings of anxiety and concern, we shop for groceries or take our kids to the park. We maintain physical distance, we wear masks, we wash our hands. But can we trust others to be as cautious? Is safety as important to those working at the pharmacy or the post office? And where could our safety be more important than when we’re at the doctor? We’ve had to be on high alert since the Spring; one sniffle or one cough conjures images of maxed-out hospital beds. Now we’re heading into flu season. Sitting in a hospital waiting room this winter is on nobody’s wish list. Add the concern around COVID-19 and many people might think twice about making an appointment for a regular check-up, let alone for a serious ailment. Patients experiencing flu symptoms will be sitting in waiting rooms with patients suffering from COVID-19.

COVID-19 has made it difficult for people to receive care and treatment for ailments. People are more likely to stay home unless it’s an emergency, requiring hospital admission. Common diagnoses, such as heart attacks, cancer, and disorders related to diabetes are not being seen by physicians at the same level that they were before the pandemic. We can assume this means people are sicker, but staying at home. Patients need to feel comfortable coming for treatment so that they can stay healthier for longer. By staying home, they are actually making themselves worse — resulting in more costly treatments and medications to get them on the mend.

In fact, 78% of consumers will skip at least one doctor’s visit for chronic illness, elective procedure or recommended lab test/screening this year due to concerns around the spread of COVID-19.

You want to know you’re safe when you have an appointment at a hospital.

The Good News

As we enter flu season, Sodexo recognized consumers fear and proactively partnered with three trusted consumer brands for cleaning - Procter and Gamble (Mr. Clean), Clorox and GOJO (Purell). By seeing trusted brands that patients are used to using in their own homes, they can feel safe and assured that the healthcare environment is getting the level of care they deserve. Patients can be confident that we’re using clinically proven methods to clean and disinfect in order to keep their visits safe.

It’s also essential that we continue to reinforce messaging to the patients and staff – to remind them about the essential tasks of cleaning and disinfecting as well as physical distancing and mask wearing. In fact, repeated instances of the messages serve not only the success of new cleaning protocols but also to anticipate any staff failures in adopting the behavior.

COVID-19 transmission has put a spotlight on the need for continuous disinfection of surfaces. Sodexo is helping to meet this need by providing dedicated staff to patient care and high-traffic areas, such as lobbies, waiting areas, and restrooms. Our staff will regularly wipe surfaces with a disinfectant and focus on high touch items, such as door handles, phones, seats, and countertops. By identifying a staff member to watch people coming and going, items can be cleaned and disinfected after each use so it is safe and ready for the next person. By implementing the right protocols and clear communication we can be safer together.

December 02, 2020

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9801 Washingtonian Boulevard, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

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