We will follow the disease data in Virginia and choose a prudent opening date for in-person office visits.
OUR SAFE RE-OPENING PLAN WILL INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
Prior to resuming in-person office visits, our personnel will be tested for coronavirus and re-tested periodically. It has always been our policy that providers and staff are advised to stay at home if they have symptoms of an illness and this will continue. Our staff will be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) during office hours.
Each exam room will be cleaned with disinfectant between visits and we will allow adequate time between appointments to get this done. We expect that patients will enter and proceed directly into an exam room but we will provide a few metal chairs (which are easier to clean) if a short wait is necessary. The entire office will be disinfected at the end of each day.
On the day prior to your visit, our staff will confirm your appointment and conduct a short questionnaire regarding symptoms of illness or potential exposure to coronavirus. We may change your appointment to a video visit if you have symptoms compatible with coronavirus. Please notify us prior to your appointment if your condition changes or if you have had exposure to a patient with COVID disease.
All patients will be required to enter our office wearing a mask and gloves. Please enter the building with these items in place. If you do not have a mask, you will receive one as you enter the office. We will ask that patients use the hand sanitizer stationed at the entrance prior to signing in at the front window. A nurse will check your temperature before proceeding to the examination room.
Patients who can manage the stair climb should use the stairs rather than the elevator in order to decrease contact with others. If you use the elevator, try to travel alone rather than with other passengers. We ask that patients visit us alone (without a companion) unless assistance is needed. A single parent may accompany a child to their visit. Your companion or driver should wait in the car for your return.
WE ENCOURAGE OUR PATIENTS TO SCHEDULE APPOINTMENTS
We will open the office for in-person visits on May 26th but will be seeing patients for delayed blood draws the week of May 18-22. Well visits, medication follow up visits, and blood draws will be conducted in the morning. We will not be seeing sick patients during those hours. When possible, we will schedule seniors who have performed self-isolation within the same block of time. We will follow a similar strategy for well-child visits. Children must get their immunizations on time to prevent outbreaks of preventable illnesses. Adult physical and well-woman exams can be scheduled for patients who are due for these examinations.
We regard these as our best opportunity to detect early signs of disease and to encourage patients to undergo screening tests for cancer. Blood tests- Many patients are overdue for a blood test. If you have recently had a video visit follow-up but did not get a blood draw, please call for a blood draw appointment.
Video visits– these have been quite useful, and our office will continue to utilize telemedicine going forward for some patients whose conditions can be managed without an in-person visit. Sick patients visits- We will continue to have video visits for patients with illnesses and will only see them in the office if optimal care requires an in-person visit. These visits will be scheduled in the afternoon and the office will be cleaned and allowed to air out overnight.
Testing for coronavirus infection and antibodies- current expert guidance does not recommend antibody testing for the general population in our area. We will monitor the guidance from the CDC and the health department for any changes to their recommendations. Nasal swab testing is available through our office for patients who have illnesses or who suspect direct exposure to someone with COVID disease. Supply remains limited but we are working with the local laboratories to maintain our supply of tests.
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
We at Family Healthcare of Fairfax anticipate there will be a window of opportunity to conduct in-person visits safely between June and September when the activity of coronavirus should be low. Most medical experts expect minor or possibly, major resurgences of the virus over the next year, especially in the fall and winter. We hope that most of you will take the opportunity to get office visits, blood draws, mammograms, colonoscopies, GYN exams, specialist visits, etc. during this time period. If we experience another surge of coronavirus and a second lockdown, the opportunity to get these done may close. If you are due for
a visit with us or for a medical visit with a specialist, please make your arrangements as soon as possible.
It will be imperative to get flu shots this fall. Having flu and COVID outbreaks at the same time would be extremely challenging for the medical system. We have placed our order for flu vaccine and anticipate demand for the vaccine will be high this fall. We will begin giving flu shots a few weeks earlier than usual this year, around September 15th. Please be diligent about vaccination for the flu vaccine this year.
SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY
We will do our best to provide a safe environment for ongoing medical care with special care for our employees. We need to stay healthy in order to care for you and ask that you help us by wearing masks and gloves and informing us of both illnesses and possible exposures. The protocol listed above may require modification over time as circumstances change and we pledge to monitor the situation in the community carefully.
From all of us at Family Healthcare of Fairfax