Checklist to Keep Practice Open
Staying Operational During the Pandemic
The following checklist offers advice for family medicine clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document is guidance; always seek current public health advice. Community practices should review their practice to ensure they are taking the appropriate precautions to continue operating during the pandemic, including two key objectives:
Ensure your patients don’t put their health on hold.
Be ready for patient calls.
Ensure your reception staff are screening patients who call in to ensure patients can be cared for in the appropriate setting at the appropriate time. As needed, consider scheduling appointment times for additional virtual triage. When the phone cannot be answered, use a voicemail message with clear instructions and monitor regularly.
Offer virtual care.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Reinforce patient screening on entry, directing visitors to the appropriate area and ensuring anyone with symptoms wears a mask and cleans their hands. If a separate waiting area and PPE are not available, patients should be screened while maintaining a 2‑metre distance.
Patients with cold/flu symptoms and their escorts should be separated to avoid cohorting with asymptomatic patients.
Implement social (physical) distancing.
This includes adjusting your waiting room and reception layout to spread people out. A 6‑foot distance between individuals is recommended. Consider asking patients who travel by car to wait in their vehicles until called or texted. Consider alternating in-person and virtual care visits in the schedule to decrease volumes. Review:
Keep yourself, your staff and your family well.
Follow routine clinic cleaning protocols.
Regularly wipe down frequently touched common surfaces, such as door knobs and reception areas with appropriate disinfectants. Clean patient exam rooms after visits. Follow routine practices and other provincial infection prevention and control advice.
Review clinic policies.
Consider waiving cancellation fees for patients with symptoms and not offering sick notes for cold/flu during the pandemic. Consider sending other sick notes by mail. These steps can reduce non-essential visits.