A Message From Our Medical Director re: COVID-19
March 24, 2020
Dear Valued Patients and Community Members,
I recognize this is a time of exceptional uncertainty and stress. Hands on Medicine remains committed to our founding mission to provide exemplary care to individuals and families in our community through exceptionally high quality of care and patient empowerment.
In an effort to continue to provide high quality care and limit exposure and spread of COVID-19 we have implemented numerous procedural changes. On March 16th we rolled out telemedicine for the vast majority of patient visits (please see the above links for each provider’s online “waiting room”).
Despite the recent “Shelter in Place” order, we understand that you and your families continue to need care: new baby/mama visits, well-child developmental assessments, injuries, illnesses and chronic health and illness management and medications refills. If you need medical care, do not hesitate to contact us for medical triage to determine an appropriate course of action. Please note that while we are COVID-19 testing when clinically necessary, every possible precaution is being taken to protect our staff, their families, patients, their families and our community at large.
I think it is especially important to recognize the extent to which these times are straining us psychologically. For those of us struggling with an exacerbation of anxiety, depression or other mental health challenges, please know that you are not alone. I strongly encourage all of us to reach out for help when we need it. Just because we are in “isolation” does not mean we should be isolated. To this end, we have hired two fabulous full-time therapists: Maddison VanderHoff, LCSW, and Myra Bazell, LCSW. Both Myra and Maddison are also doing telemedicine appointments.
As a devoted professional medical provider for over twenty years, I can wholeheartedly state that Hands On Medicine staff and procedures are surpassing all standards of care and expectations. Together we will see this pandemic through and be a stronger community because of it.
In health and solidarity,
Shelda R. Holmes, FNP
Hands on Medicine
How have you changed procedures to keep staff and patients safer?
- All patients are screened for COVID-19 symptoms before and at the time of their visit.
- Adult patients must come unaccompanied and children under 16 may have only one guardian.
- All patients and staff must wear a mask at all times in the clinic.
- As before the pandemic, all work spaces and exam rooms are sterilized and cleaned multiple times daily.
- When possible, we are seeing most of our patients via telemedicine.
- We are sheduling healthy patients in the morning and sick patients in the afternoon to reduce exposure.
- Likewise we are exclusively testing patients for COVID-19 outside in their cars to prevent exposure inside the clinic.
What should I do if I think I have COVID-19 symptoms?
Please call and make a telemedicine appointment with your PCP if you have COVID-19 symptoms. We will assess your symptoms and guide you through the next steps. While you are waiting for your appointment please isolate yourself to protect others.
What if I don’t have COVID-19 symptoms but I want to get tested for COVID-19?
We are following the Oregon Health Authority guidelines regarding testing people for COVID-19 who do not have symptoms.
What about the COVID-19 antibody test? Are you offering this?
We are not currently offering the antibody test because it is uncertain what the results of the test mean. If a person tests positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, we do not know if those antibodies will protect them from getting COVID-19.
How can I protect myself and others from COVID-19?
- Learn about COVID-19. The CDC has very helpful information about how the virus spreads and what you can do to reduce your risks here.
- Wash your hands often: before and after eating, after blowing nose and using the toilet, after tending to the toileting of others, after coughing and sneezing, and at least every couple of hours.
- Avoid sharing indoor space with other people outside your household.
- Social distance, keeping at least 6 feet between yourself and other people.
- Wear a mask when you cannot social distance.
- Cough and sneeze into your mask, under your shirt, or into your elbow.
- Stop smoking. Your PCP can help you quit tobacco. Schedule a telemedicine visit to discuss this.
- Keep your nails short, hair pulled back and try not to touch your face.
- Shower every evening, including hair (our hair captures microbes and pollens).
- When wearing a mask, do not pull the mask onto your hair. Instead, pull your mask down.
- Clean all surfaces and frequently touched/shared items daily.
- Do not let your pets sleep with you.
- Pets should not be touched by anyone outside of your household.