The rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak means that information and advice from Government can change quickly. For the latest Government information on COVID-19, please visit the UK Government website, the Scottish Government website, the Welsh Government website or the Northern Irish Government website. Please be sure to check the COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses from the Government for the latest updates. Last Updated 22nd May 2020.
Over the next 8-10 weeks we are setting up a number of special Covid- 19 support groups. Each support group will be made up of practice owners with the purpose of facilitating and sharing ideas to help members of the group navigate through the Covid crisis in a more detailed and structured way. Each Covid-19 support group will be made up of 8-10 practice owners and will hold a weekly online meeting chaired by one of our SightCare Premium coaches. These groups are free to join and with no obligation to join SightCare Premium, however, places on each group are limited and available on a first come basis. If you are a practice owner and interested in joining a Covid-19 support group please forward your name, practice and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch.
The UK Chief Medical Officers have now added anosmia to the list of reasons people should self-isolate.
Anosmia is the loss of or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked.
Adding it to the list means that from today:
- Individuals will need to self-isolate immediately if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or a loss or changed sense of normal smell or taste (anosmia)
- All members of their household must also self-isolate according to current guidelines, unless the symptomatic individual receives a negative test result.
In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland routine eye examinations have been stopped and processes have been put in place to continue emergency and essential eye care. The College of Optometrists is trying to get the same clarification for England and the AOP is advising stopping routine work.
The College has advised on the following measures to take if you need to see patients for urgent or essential care to minimise the risk to you and your patients:
- Lock practice doors and see patients by appointment only.
- Suspend all routine appointments
- Phone patients who have appointments on the day to confirm that the patient is well and that they, and the rest of their household are not exhibiting relevant symptoms (new, continuous cough and/or a high temperature).
- Space appointments out to limit the numbers of people in the practice at any one time and maintain social distancing.
- Space chairs out in the waiting area to help patients maintain a 2m distance between each other
- Ask patients to sanitise their hands on entering the practice
- Wipe clinical equipment and door handles after every patient, as well as other surfaces. All surfaces must be clean before they are disinfected.
- Use a telephone or video triage system to determine whether patients need to be seen. The College has developed triage sheets, jointly with the other optical bodies, to help you do this (please see our Coronavirus resource page)
- Where possible, avoid touching patients. If you need to touch the patient, ensure you practise appropriate hand hygiene before and after contact.
- Maintain social distancing (2m) where possible.
- Limit the number of people in the practice and consulting room at any one time.
- Use a cough guard on your slit lamp if possible.
- Sanitise frames before patients try them on. This can be done using a suitable disinfectant, such as an alcohol wipe. All surfaces must be clean before they are disinfected.