Dear Referring Doctors, Patients and Customers,
We hope you and your family are remaining well during the current COVID-19 climate. As you are aware, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued to affect countries around the world and Australia is now taking precautions to help combat the spread of the virus. Vascular Health Group appreciates this is a testing time and that you may have concerns around the functioning of our Practice.
We would like to reassure you that policy at Vascular Health Group in relation to COVID-19 is guided by recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Australian Government Department of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria and Epworth Hospital. We have also implemented additional precautions to those suggested.
As always, infection control and prevention of cross infection are at the centre of our activities at Vascular Health Group.
Non-Urgent Elective surgery cannot proceed according to current Government Guidelines. It is unclear whether this pertains to in hospital care only. We feel it is appropriate to extend these guidelines to out of hospital care in the spirit of keeping patients and staff safe by reducing the spread of COVID-19. This means we will be closing the practice and will be available via phone and telehealth only except in emergency circumstances that would require face to face contact until June 2020.
Below we explain how we are responding to the evolving pandemic.
Vascular Health Group continues to trade as normal opening at 8am until 4pm. We will be closing the practice from Thursday 9th April 2020 and will be available via phone and Telehealth/Telephone.
Communication with Patients:
During the closure all 4 incoming phone lines to the practice with two lovely reception staff (Venushi and Terri) to help with any questions you might have.
Madi and Jaclyn (Clinical Nurses) will be available to answer all clinical questions.
Claire is available for TeleHealth and TelePhone consultations.
All emails will be monitored during this time as per normal.
All patients with existing appointments will be contacted and their appointment re-scheduled.
Any new patient bookings will be made for July.
Should we still be closed in 2 months’ time, we will then reschedule patients accordingly.
Please be assured we have been working closely with our supply partners since January this year to secure high levels of all medical, compression and office equipment. Our strategy guarantees we have stock to deliver all Vascular Health services for at least 12 months.
Existing Infection Control and Prevention Procedures.
Our priority is keeping our team and patients safe and reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the community. There are many infection control and prevention procedures already in place prior to COVID-19:
- Hand hygiene before and after every patient contact
- Alcoholic hand gel available throughout the Practice
- Use of disposable examination gloves
- Use of hospital grade disinfectant wipes on patient contact surfaces in clinical areas including the bed and procedure trolley
- Single use patient gowns
- Single use bed covers for all procedures
- Bed covers changed as required for non-procedural use
- High level disinfection of the ultrasound probes, cords and machines for all procedures
- Sterile ultrasound cover and set up for all procedures
- Office area and contact surfaces cleaned daily or more frequently as required
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some additional measures have been introduced:
- Screening of all patients as per the current Government recommendations
- Screening criteria is communicated verbally when making an appointment, via text message when confirming appointments, and upon arrival at the rooms
- Patients are asked not to attend the rooms and reschedule appointments if they meet the screening criteria
- The front door is currently locked and all patients are asked to use alcoholic hand gel before entering the Practice
- Use of masks during procedures, this will continue as long as masks remain available
- Use of single use plastic aprons
- Single use bed covers per patient including for non-procedural contact
- Cleaning of the office area after each patient contact, this includes the eftpos machine, desk top, door handle, chair arms, etc
It is expected the way in which Vascular Health Group delivers care will change over the coming months. Whilst we regret this will mean reduced direct patient contact, we look forward to the opportunities this provides in other areas of the Practice.
- Upskilling staff during closure (Health Coaching, Digital Design and Marketing, Video blogging)
- Functional Medicine exam completion and creation of a Wellness Blog
- Vascular Imaging Centre Accreditation renewal
- Sports compression garment design with RMIT
- Design and recording of the Vascular Imaging Centre Ultrasound training Seminar Program
- Design and implementation of the Low Carb Study
Please remember to maintain healthy vein practices:
- Stay active and avoid long periods standing or sitting
- Stay well hydrated
- Wear compression if you have ongoing venous insufficiency
- Consider sitting on a Fitball cushion if you are seated for long periods
- Maintain a low inflammatory lifestyle – Wholefood fresh diet, minimise processed foods and alcohol, 7-8 hours sleep per night, plenty of sunshine to maintain good Vit D levels, stress management with meditation, regular exercise with a mix of walking and high intensity interval exercise.
- Consider a low carbohydrate diet for metabolic health and weight management