There is no doubt that many areas of our lives and our world have changed because of COVID-19. One area most affected by the virus is the healthcare industry. Many hospitals and doctors’ offices changed procedures to better serve and protect patients from the virus. Ultrasound technicians now screen more patients than ever who could have viral infections such as COVID-19. What practices are digital imaging professionals taking in order to stay safe? What are the ultrasound guidelines during COVID-19? Check out this list!
9 Ultrasound Guidelines During COVID-19
American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) recently released a set of specific guidelines to protect patients and technicians, prevent illness, and slow the spread of the virus throughout digital imaging centers. Here are the nine ultrasound guidelines during COIVD-19 that you should be aware of!
1. Limit contact with high-risk patients
One of the ultrasound guidelines during COVID-19 is that ultrasound providers should do their best to limit contact during an ultrasound with those who are in the high-risk category. It is recommended that technicians avoid touching a patient’s clothes and personal items that might have the virus on them or pick up the virus from touch.
2. Fit Sonographers for respirators and require infection control training
Masks are imperative for the country to slow the spread of the pandemic, and they are also one of the most important ultrasound guidelines during COVID-19 to keep patients and technicians safe. N95 respirators are recommended for sonographers to provide the most protection. Furthermore, knowledge is power. Infection control training will help these technicians become more aware and more equipped to prevent illness and illness transfer.
3. Spread out appointment times and practice social distancing in waiting rooms
Along with wearing masks, maintain, and respect social distancing guidelines to combat the virus in digital imagine centers. Spread out appointment times will allow for ultrasound technicians to practice proper personal hygiene between being in close contact with patients without being rushed. Another one of the ultrasound guidelines during COVID-19 is to be sure patients have six feet between each other in waiting rooms because the virus is less likely to transfer that distance.
4. Do not allow other people in the exam room
Unfortunately, only the technician and the patient can be in the exam room, according to the ultrasound guidelines during COVID-19. We know that ultrasounds are often joyous occasions or difficult occasions, both of which patients prefer bringing loved ones along. However, more people in a room leads to less physical distancing and more opportunity for virus exposure. Video chats with loved ones can provide similar comfort, instead.
5. Clean rooms and equipment as if all patients had COVID-19
It has always been important for digital imaging professionals to keep rooms and equipment, but as one of the ultrasound guidelines during COVID-19, it is imperative. Technicians should assume that every patient has COVID-19 and practice rigorous cleaning measures. Be sure to follow the details given from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and your facility specifically in order to disinfect as much as possible and stop the spread of the virus.
6. Practice correct hand hygiene before and after patient contact or possibly infectious materiel
The importance of washing your hands has remained constant throughout the pandemic, and it is extra important for digital imaging professionals. The CDC recommends using a hand rub that is 60-95% alcohol for best disinfecting results. If your hands are visibly soiled, use soap and water for 20 seconds. Don’t forget to wear new gloves for every exam, too!
7. Keep one hand on the transducer and one hand on the keyboard
In order to avoid cross-contamination, this one of the ultrasound guidelines during COVID-19 is vital. If you touch the transducer, then touch the keyboard then touch the transducer again, you could contaminate a surface with particles that were missed during the previous cleaning. Be sure to avoid this possibility and keep as few germs on as few surfaces as possible.
8. Use PPE if treating a patient in isolation
If a patient needs to have an ultrasound but is in isolation from exposure or because they have a positive case of the coronavirus, be sure to wear personal protective equipment. The CDC provides guidelines on how to put on and wear this equipment properly. If you are exposed to someone with the virus, this is one of the most vital ultrasound guidelines during COVID-19 to protect yourself. PPE will keep you safe and slow the spread.
9. Decontaminate reusable equipment
Do not use old and dirty equipment when working in the office or scanning a patient, as particles from the virus can linger on these surfaces and spread it to others. Utilize N95 masks and sanitize reusable eye protection. Put on fresh sets of gloves before entering the exam room and treating a new patient. Finally, wear a clean isolation gown. All of these measures work together and reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
Be sure to put all of these ultrasound guidelines during COVID-19 into place in order to keep digital imaging professionals and patients safe. Ultrasound technicians put themselves at risk of exposure each day and patients are in need of screening services. These guidelines will help protect both parties and slow the spread of the virus.
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