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Provide face-to-face medical care during corona infection

When providing face-to-face health care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, healthcare workers must take steps to keep themselves and their patients safe. Read about when to provide care in person and how to protect yourself and your patients.

When to provide face-to-face care

Healthcare professionals can provide medical care remotely through telehealth services. They can also remotely prescribe medications and have the pharmacist deliver them to patients.

But healthcare professionals and healthcare workers can still provide care in person. This includes:

  • General practitioners and other professionals
  • Pharmacists
  • Allied primary care and health professionals
  • Doctors and health professionals who work in acute, secondary and tertiary care.
  • Nurses and midwives
  • Elderly care workers and disability support workers
  • Mental health service providers, including psychologists, counselors, and mental health professionals.
  • Paramedics and first responders
  • Community outreach workers, including shelters and homeless services

Where a patient or client receives care depends on their circumstances. In some cases, in-person care is the only option.

  • Some people need care in their own homes, such as the Commonwealth Home Assistance Program or the Home Care Package Program.
  • People who live in a residential facility to care for the elderly or care for people with disabilities still need daily care and regular access to healthcare professionals.
  • Some health conditions require a physical exam.
  • Some people are unable or unwilling to use the telephone or video services.
  • Some services can only be provided in person.

When providing care in person, healthcare professionals and healthcare workers must take steps to protect themselves and their patients from COVID-19. This includes good hygiene practices and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

How to protect yourself and your patients

Healthcare workers and caregivers should take infection prevention and control precautions when caring for patients face-to-face.

If you are a healthcare worker or elderly care worker, you must complete a 30-minute online training module. This will help you understand the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and how to protect everyone.

To protect yourself and your dependents, especially those at risk of serious illness:

  • Practice and encourage good hand hygiene - wash hands before and after wearing personal protective equipment or touching the patient
  • Assess the patient's risk of developing COVID-19 before face-to-face contact occurs, then wear personal protective equipment commensurate with risks and environments
  • Provide your patient with a surgical mask to wear if they are quarantined for COVID-19 exposure or have respiratory symptoms
  • Follow physical distance guidelines, while maintaining a distance of 1.5 meters from the patient whenever possible
  • Clean the environment and equipment regularly

Notify your employer immediately if:

  • You believe you have been in contact with someone infected with the COVID-19 virus without wearing the proper personal protective equipment.
  • You have symptoms of respiratory illness, even if they are mild

In these circumstances, seek medical evaluation and advice on testing for COVID-19. Stop providing in-person care until you are allowed to return to work. Read about when you can and when you can't.

Paramedics and first responders

Paramedics and first responders evaluating and treating patients who are isolated or quarantined should:

  • Take contact and fall precautions for routine patient care.
  • Take direct contact and airborne precautions when performing aerosol-generating procedures, including intubation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Notify the receiving hospital
  • Put the car vent on both parts in the non-recycled position during transportation
  • Use the rear air extractor, if present, to extract the air from the cabin to the rear of the vehicle.
  • Please note the specific guidelines related to your jurisdiction

Life-threatening situations

When providing clinical care in life-threatening situations, such as CPR, to a patient suspected of having COVID-19, protect yourself by:

  • Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment for the procedures, while ensuring careful use and removal.
  • Practice good hand hygiene
  • Notify your employer immediately if you have not used the appropriate PPE or if you believe a PPE violation has occurred