The COVID-19 pandemic has created a challenging environment for our health system. Southern Cross Podiatry has implemented many changes to ensure the health and safety of our clients and staff. We would like to take this opportunity to answer some of your frequently asked questions.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19, also known as the Corona Virus, is a viral pathogen that is responsible for the current global pandemic. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. Its common symptoms replicate a common cold, including fever, cough or sore throat, and shortness of breath. COVID-19 has the potential to be fatal and serious consideration is needed regarding its severity. For further information visit the Australian Government website on COVID-19 athttps://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/what-you-need-to-know-about-coronavirus-covid-19
If you are concerned that you have any of these symptoms, then you are required to self-isolate and contact medical assistance.
Is Southern Cross Podiatry still open?
Yes, we are still open. The government has deemed Podiatry as an essential service, and able to assist in decreasing the burden on our health system. Private allied health clinics can reduce public health system demands by treating non -urgent pathologies. Southern Cross Podiatry can treat In-grown toenails, soft tissue strains and sprains, fractures, and lower limb ulcerations to name a few services.
Our management team is regularly reviewing Southern Cross Podiatry’s capability to provide a safe service for our clients and staff. If we feel that we are unable to fully protect our clients and staff, we will modify our service provision until a time where it is safe.
How are you still open when nail salons are closed?
Unlike the nail salons, Podiatrists are tertiary educated health professionals who are qualified, medically trained, and nationally registered. We provide a medical service that aims to maintain the health of your feet and lower limbs. Nail cutting is only a part of a Podiatrist’s scope of practice. We manage ulcerations, fractures, post-op care from amputations, in-grown toenails and many other pathologies . By managing these pathologies, we can ease the burden on the public health system, including hospitals and emergency rooms.
Nail salons, while their technique can sometimes be acceptable, have no medical or legal responsibility if anything goes wrong. They provide a beauty service not medical care.
Do you perform Infection control?
Yes, Southern Cross Podiatry has always followed the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHRMC) infection control guidelines. These insure we practice in the highest standards best known to reduce risk of cross-infection.
Southern Cross Podiatry has always utilised the nationally recognised ‘5 Moments for Hand Hygiene’. These steps have always been practised, but if you wish to read more on the 5 Moments please see Hand Hygiene Australia Website www.hha.org.au
In addition, Southern Cross Podiatry practices the principle of “Below the Elbows”. This initiative means that our clinical staff do not wear long sleeves, hand and wrist jewellery ( except weeding bands and religious pieces), or have artificial nails or nail polish. These steps reduced infection transmission rates.
We have always used instruments that have been sterilised according to industry required processes and tracking. Our autoclaves (aka steriliser) are validated and services as per guidelines.
We stock the appropriate levels of Personal Protective Equipment and cleaning products ( detergents and disinfectants) required to ensure our clinic and processes are as safe as possible.
How are we combating cross-contamination?
Along with implementing the Prevention and Control of Infection Guidelines developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Southern Cross Podiatry has also added these additional steps:
Additional training of staff with focus on COVID-19 infection prevention
Development of a Pandemic Infection Control Policy
Pre-screening of clients prior to consultation
Disinfecting high touch surfaces (for example door handles) after each client
Maintaining social distancing rules within waiting rooms and clinic areas where possible. Waiting room chairs have been removed to comply with distancing requirements. Additionally, some clinics will request clients wait in their cars to reduce exposure risks
Most of our clinics have spaced out every second appointment to support social distancing in waiting rooms, along with ensuring adequate time to complete the additional cleaning tasks
An additional second disinfection cycle of instruments prior to sterilisation
Are our staff trained in infection control?
Yes, all Podiatrists are educated on infection control, cross contamination, and viral pathology during their undergraduate degrees. As such all of our staff are well versed in infection control.
In additional, Our staff have all completed national training programs in Hand hygiene and COVID-19 specific infection control and prevention of spread.
Is it safe to attend the clinic when social distancing is encouraged?
As per governmental guidelines, receiving health care is currently (as of 27th July 2020) a valid reason to leave your house. As with all reasons for leaving your house there is a risk of transmission. However, the steps we have implemented should decrease your chances. If you are concerned with the risks, then we are more than understanding for you to cancel your consultation, we just request you to give us notice of this intent.
Do I have to wear a face covering while attending an appointment?
Yes, as per current Victorian law, all clients and accompanying persons are required to wear a face covering while attending our clinics, unless they fall under a reason for exemption. Further information on these exemptions can be found at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/face-coverings-covid-19#exceptions-for-not-wearing-a-face-covering