As our communities have begun to open back up, businesses and organizations of all sorts are taking extra precautions to help keep their employees and customers safe. Healthcare and doctor’s offices are no exception: additional measures are being taken to promote your safety when you seek care at any Mount Nittany Health location. Here are five things you should know when visiting a doctor’s office.
1. Offices are adding to their cleaning routine
Doctor’s offices routinely follow stringent cleaning protocols for safety. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these protocols have been further augmented.
Exam and procedure room cleaning and disinfecting processes have been enhanced.
Lobbies, common areas, and high-touch areas, like elevator buttons, door handles, tables and chairs, will be cleaned and disinfected several times throughout the day. Magazines and other reading materials will be removed from waiting rooms.
2. Patients and employees will be screened and masked
Before entering any healthcare facility, both patients and employees will be screened for possible COVID-19 symptoms. This might include questions about recent symptoms like cough, fever, or shortness of breath; recent diagnosis or pending test results for COVID-19; and travel history or exposure to sick individuals. Your temperature may also be taken.
All patients and employees, including your provider, will also be required to wear a mask, though there may be exceptions for patients who feel short of breath or children under the age of two.
3. Physical distancing precautions are in place
Offices are scheduling patient appointments further apart to limit/eliminate people in the waiting rooms. Seating capacity will be reduced to keep people at least six feet apart. Patients may also be instructed to wait in their vehicles until they are directed by staff to move into an examination room.
Offices will also continue to limit others from accompanying patients to their visit, unless the person is an essential caregiver and is needed for the appointment.
Your typical experience with registration may be different. You may be able to complete registration from your vehicle. If you come inside the office to register, protective barriers will separate you from staff in registration areas.
Some offices will eliminate in-person check out and instead follow-up by phone, patient portal or mail.
A greeter and/or signage will be available to help you navigate these new processes.
4. COVID-19-related services may be separated from other offerings
Certain times of day may be reserved for certain types of patient visits. For instance, those with COVID-19 symptoms may be seen in the afternoon, while other visits are scheduled in the morning.
At Mount Nittany Physician Group Pediatrics, symptomatic patients will be seen in our Boalsburg office, while asymptomatic and well children will be seen at our Bellefonte location.
Mount Nittany Health also has three outdoor test collection sites within Centre and Mifflin counties so that symptomatic patients who need testing don’t have to come into the office.
5. Telehealth is still an option
Whether you have an upcoming appointment already scheduled or you call in requesting to be seen, you will be offered a telehealth visit whenever possible. These are two-way visits where the patient and provider use a mobile device or computer to see and hear one another throughout the visit.
If your need requires a more involved assessment, you may be required to come in for your appointment, but telehealth is a great option for routine care. You can receive the same great care from the comfort of your home.
As we move along the next phase of this pandemic, re-opening, it’s important to stay focused on all aspects of your health and wellness. Know that doctor’s offices, emergency departments, hospitals and surgery centers are taking extra steps to help keep you safe while you seek care. Getting the care that you need, when you need it, matters.
For more information on how Mount Nittany Health is prepared for a safe reopening, please visit mountnittany.org/open.