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How can healthcare facilities effectively communicate to patients?

The CDC’s key goals for the U.S. healthcare system during the novel coronavirus are to reduce morbidity and mortality, minimize disease transmission, protect healthcare personnel, and preserve healthcare system functioning.

As medical facilities face an influx of new patients, they must also find ways to effectively communicate safety and health information. A strong visual communication strategy will help new visitors navigate the facility, understand the symptoms of COVID-19, and know how to help stop the spread of germs.

Waiting Areas

Patients waiting to be seen or waiting at the pharmacy should follow the social distancing recommendation of six feet apart from others. Facilities can encourage this by removing or cordoning off extra seating and posting signs reminding everyone to maintain a healthy distance.

Drive-Thru Testing

More and more individuals are able to get tested for COVID-19 without needing to exit their vehicle. For the hospitals that offer this option, A-frame signs reminding patients to wait in their car for assistance can be moved around the parking lot and packed up at the end of the day.

Triage

Healthcare facilities can take several communicative measures at triage to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 to other patients and healthcare workers. Have clear signs posted at the entrances to direct patients to the registration desk, emergency department, or the department they’re seeking care for. Encourage social distancing at the registration desk by indicating where the line begins with floor markings and where patients can stand to wait in line.

Visitor Restrictions

To reduce the chance of coronavirus affecting the most at-risk populations, the CDC recommends aggressive visitor restrictions for nursing homes and long-term facilities. In addition to sending letters or emails to families about updated visitation policies, post signs at the entrances of the facility advising no visitors may enter.

Hygiene

Post signs at entrances and in strategic areas (waiting rooms, elevators, etc.) to remind people of good hygiene practices like washing hands frequently, coughing and sneezing into a tissue, and keeping a distance from others.

 

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