The following is intended as a further guide for ACSLPA members when determining if they should see clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guide is meant to be used in conjunction with the document “Notice to ACSLPA Members in Private Practice – Public Health Restrictions on Businesses and Workplaces” to further support members’ decision-making.
“Non-essential health services are those generally done to protect, promote or maintain the health of an individual but if interrupted would not endanger the life, health and safety of the individual.
Non-essential health services can no longer be provided by regulated health professionals or registered professionals, unless:
- The service is deemed urgent by the health professional providing the service.
- The service is critical to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning.” (taken from https://www.alberta.ca/restrictions-on-businesses.aspx).
A non-essential health service can still be provided at a place of business (i.e., face-to-face) only if the services are deemed urgent or critical by the audiologist or SLP providing that service. A decision must be made on a case-by-case basis, for the specific client situation, at that particular point in time. Only urgent care can be provided to the public (clients) in a face-to-face manner if the service is not included in the essential services list. In most cases, private SLP and audiologist businesses will not have a clear “fit” on the essential services list.
When considering providing face-to-face services, decisions regarding urgency and criticality of the service is required. Services may be continued where there is no face-to-face contact required, regardless of urgency or criticality.
Follow the questions in sequence to equip yourself with the information to make a justified decision regarding ongoing face-to-face services. Decisions to see/not to see a client should be clearly documented. Click the corresponding yes or no button for further information.
Steps to Take When Seeing A Client Face-To-Face
|1. Arrange an appointment time with the client by phone.|
|2. Complete as much prework/service by telephone as possible. Inform the client of the requirements for the in-person visit (limits to number of people who can attend with the client, repeat point of care assessment, handwashing upon entry/exit of the clinic, how to gain access to the clinic).|
|3. Ensure as few staff as possible are in the clinic at the time of the appointment. Consider a plan for working alone safely. Keep clinic doors locked so there can be no access to other individuals.|
|4. Perform a point of care risk assessment at the time of the appointment (if client/accompanying person answers “yes” to any question, defer to later date with reminder to self-isolate). See Question 3 above.|
|5. Monitor the client during the appointment. If symptoms are detected, discontinue the service and reschedule.|
|6. Have client wash their hands (soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer) upon entering the clinic.|
|7. Maintain a 2-metre physical distance from the client as much as possible. Limit the amount of time you need to be closer to the client to perform the service. Stand to the side of the client where possible.|
|8. Where appropriate and available, use personal protective equipment (PPE). ACSLPA does not currently recommend any PPE beyond what has been recommended by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and what you would normally wear and/or feel comfortable wearing. More information on PPE at:
Public Health Agency of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals.html
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-infection-prevention-and-control-for-health-care-workers-caring-for-patients-with-suspected-or-confirmed-2019-ncov
|9. Review the ACSLPA Advisory Statement on “Infection Prevention Control – Reusable and Single-Use Medical Devices” and the corresponding standard.|
|10. Clean and disinfect the clinic and any equipment prior to the client’s arrival. Consider developing a checklist for cleaning/disinfecting which includes the signature of the person who cleaned and the time the cleaning/disinfecting was performed.
|11. Where possible, consider going cashless, and ensure hand hygiene after exchange of money or items. Avoid sharing communal office equipment/supplies (e.g., pens, phones, tablets).|
|12. Have client wash their hands upon leaving the clinic.|
|13. Complete hand hygiene and clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment.|