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Ximara Vega | 3/18/2020

Given the current state of the world due to the onset of COVID-19 everything around us has changed and it’s changed quickly. Three weeks ago, I was on vacation on the other side of the country mindful of what was going on, but not exactly concerned. Two weeks ago, I developed a cold and immediately thought, this is the end for me because I probably have THE VIRUS. Three days later I felt much better, so I returned to the office. My high-pitch squeal of a voice was much deeper than usual. I finally sounded like an adult and people took notice. Some of my co-workers told me to go home because they didn’t want to be around me given all they’ve heard about Novel Coronavirus. It was a terrible feeling, but I understood where they were coming from. Although I felt better, I should have stayed home. The thing is that’s just not how I’m wired. I’m the same person that showed up to my practice one week after having a baby because I knew they needed me. Okay, so I’m a little crazy! Better yet, I’m human.

What we must keep in mind is there is no shame in being human, but we need to be sensitive to what is going on while maintaining the level of service we aspire to provide. As an employer you have an obligation to ensure the safety of yourself, your staff and your patient base. What does this mean?

  • If you, your staff or any of your patients are feeling under the weather, stay home.
    • It is okay to ask patients the following:
      • Are you sick?
      • Have you been exposed to anyone who is sick?
      • Have you traveled anywhere recently?
        • If they answer yes to any of those questions you can require them to wear a mask during their visit
          • Better yet, get them rescheduled in 2 weeks
        • Should patients show any signs of a cold or flu you can decline service
        • Many practices are administering temperature checks during patient visits
    • Let your staff know that your primary concern is their health so if they show any signs of a cold or flu, you would like for them to stay home.
  • Work hard to maintain the cleanliness of the optical
    • This area of the practice experiences a high volume of physical interaction
      • Clean demo lenses with alcohol swabs or dish soap and water. Clean frames with eyeglass cleaner. Alcohol is an active ingredient in most eyeglass cleaning solutions.
      • Clean all eyeglass measuring devices after use:
        • Pd sticks
        • Pupilometers
        • Lens fingers
        • If it touches a patient’s face, directly or indirectly, clean it
  • Everyone needs to wash their hands often

Turning away patients and encouraging staff to stay home may not align with traditional patient care but given what we’re currently going through, it is the only way to ensure those around us remain safe. Please don’t be afraid to keep your people first, always.

Ximara Vega
Optical Management Consultant
Ximara is an ABO Certified Optician and lecturer with over a decade of experience in both consumer relations and staff management in the optical industry. As an Optical Management Consultant with IDOC, she works with practices to develop processes designed to motivate and inspire positive change in areas such as staff training, goal setting, sales and inventory management. For insight into her approach feel free to read her IDOC blogs and the articles she has written for Pentavision's Optometric Management Tip of the Week.
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