We are now a month and a half since reopening the office and we are starting to hit our stride with all of the new procedures and protocols. We have all of our necessary supplies, PPE and new equipment. We are all getting used to the new way of practice and are settling in with the new way of practice.
I want to say thank you to all of our patients that have seen us since we have opened. Thank you for your trust and confidence in us and for your patience while we were getting use to all of the new systems. We are now comfortable with everything and we can once again enjoy seeing our patients without the weight and pressure of the new procedures hanging over us. The mental stress of trying to remember and follow the strict guidelines was a fatiguing process. During those first few weeks, we all felt completely exhausted at the end of each day even though we were seeing less patients. I felt that it was probably due to wearing the high filtration masks all day long. But then it became clear that it was also from the constant stress of the situation. We are all feeling much more relaxed now.
What makes it easier is that we do not have to worry about our equipment and supplies. There is a huge shortage of PPE, but thanks to being a member of the Crown Council, they have been able to help to secure the necessary supplies for its members. Due to shortages, the cost of PPE has risen dramatically. We used to be able to get the disposable gowns for less than a $1 each, but now the price is up to $6-7 each if you can even find them. With no end to these shortages in sight, we decided to switch our uniforms (scrubs and gowns) to those supplied by a uniform service. We now have our own personal supply, which is sterilized and laundered every week, then returned to us on a regular schedule. We no longer have to worry about the shortages and the rising costs. And we are assured of having clean, sterile uniforms every day.
We are now using the commercial grade foggers (VectorFog C100) for our office for rapid disinfection of the rooms, air and ourselves. During first few weeks of opening, we did not have them because of the severe back order. Luckily, I found a residential fogger from Home Depot that we used in the meantime. They worked ok, but they put out a heavier mist — so we got a little wet. They were loud and sounded like a leaf blower, but we were happy to have them. The foggers along with our hypochlorous acid (HOCL) solution allows us to quickly disinfect our rooms and each other between patients. Since the fog goes into the rooms, it will also kill any viruses that are in the air. Before a staff member leaves a room when there is potential aerosol contamination, they are “fogged”. Then after the patients leaves, the room is “fogged” as well. The new foggers are much more efficient as they put out a ultrafine mist very rapidly and they don’t sound like a leaf blower. Once the mist settles in a room, it is ready for the next procedure in just 3 minutes.
Like I said, we are now used to all of these new procedures and we feel comfortable with this new way of practice and the level of safety that it provides.