Many practitioners’ offices are in a love-hate relationship with the flu. On the one hand, it keeps their offices brimming with patients, and on the other hand their staff is dropping like flies with illnesses to attend to for themselves or their families. Here are some tried and true methods to help reduce the spread of flu in your office and keep illness-related attendance up, and therefore your clinic running smoothly.
1. Flu Shots: Ensure that you have the proper protocols in place to get your office and their families vaccinated. (On a different note, flu shots can be a great revenue source, call local business and offer shots to their employees or to offer a shot clinic, it can be a great way to get new patients.)
2. Standard Precautions: Review infection-control standard precautions with your staff on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly meeting basis. During your regular staff meetings, let the office staff rotate teaching the group about standard precautions. It is important to require everyone to attend, because even those who don’t have direct patient contact still come in contact with people who do. And with this flu season upon us, it is just as important to practice standard precautions at the grocery store as it is at the office. (Another good way to market your practice is to offer flu prevention classes at the local health center, YMCA, or hospital. It will help to establish you as an expert in your community while benefiting other people.)
3. Cleaning Protocols: When you are cleaning your office between patients, and when your janitorial staff is cleaning, take steps to ensure that you surfaces are not hot spots for bacteria and viruses including the flu and common cold. There is a new product on the market called Monofoil that I happen to distribute that not only provides an instant kill log but also leaves behind a residue-free, non-leaching, safe-for-people/pets/food surface. It also offers cellular-layer protection against re-contamination. The protection lasts 30 days at a time, and it can be applied to any and every surface (and you can even wash your office attire/lab coats/etc. the solution to give them an antimicrobial shield). To be fair, there are other similar products on the market. The point is that you use one that helps provide some sort of barrier against bacteria.
4. Self Care: It is true, those who get plenty of rest, eat healthy, and routinely work out show increase immune function. Get your staff moving with exercise and sleep challenges.
Keep your office running smoothly to take care of your increased patient load this flu season!