Distancing, Telehealth and Now Vaccines!
Helping our Patients in the Era of COVID
COVID-19 has been a reality for us for nearly two years! And still — every day it seems that we’re finding a new “normal” regarding the ways we work, the ways we spend time with friends and family, and the ways we strive to keep ourselves (and others) healthy. It seems like such a long time ago that people were just learning how to wear face masks. Or when there wasn’t hand sanitizer everywhere. Or when we didn’t have circles on the ground spacing ourselves out every six feet!
Falls Church Healthcare Center has had some important choices to make over the past 20 months, the most important of which has been to prioritize patient centered-care and remain open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Doing so has meant making a lot of changes in the way we serve our patients! Some examples are:
- Keeping the Distance: From the six-foot markers we use to ensure our patients are distanced from each other, to our requirements that all patients and staff wear face masks in our Center (which FCHC can provide), to plexiglass partitions at our front counter and at our desks — even to the placement of chairs in our waiting area! — we have changed how we are able to keep our patients and staff safe. Barriers, distancing measures and room air sanitizers and continual cleaning have decreased transmission of COVID throughout our Center. We’ve also become accustomed to having each patient use one pen and one clipboard and disinfecting them before they are used again. (Distancing has also meant that the waiting room in our center no longer can accommodate patient companions; we created an area for companions to wait outside of our Center.)
- Continued COVID screening: before entering our Center, all visitors have their temperature taken, and they are asked if they have experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 or if they have been exposed. We also have collected information specifically for contact tracing should there be a case appears in our Center, which we are happy to say there have been none reported.
- Completing Patient forms through our website: One way we continue to reduce community spread of COVID is to minimized patients’ time in the Center. FCHC put all patient forms and the ability to schedule an appointments on-line at www.fallschurchhealthcare.com in our Patient Center portal. Patients can fill out their medical history and obtain medical information on- line instead of by hand at the Center. Patients who fill these forms out on-line can do so where they feel comfortable and not rushed. The patient forms securely forwarded to Patient Educators are more complete, legible and organized. There’s no more trying to fit everything into the margins! More than 90% of our patients are now completing their forms online before their appointment.
- Telehealth: We added Telehealth to also minimize time spent at the Center: our virtual, person-to-person patient education sessions now can take place prior to our patients’ onsite appointments — Telehealth gives more time to ask questions further in advance without feeling rushed. Telehealth sessions can be done wherever our patients feel most comfortable. And telehealth patient education sessions expand our operating hours to meet virtually with our staff in the evening!
We’re proud to say that these changes have helped us remain open and serving patients through the COVID pandemic: from March 2020 to today!
We have yet another change we’re making to help keep our patients and staff in the time of COVID: Beginning today (October 28), we are making the COVID-19 vaccine available to our patients!
FCHC has been working closely with the Virginia Department of Health to obtain doses the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as well as training in safely administering the vaccine. Patients who have scheduled in-person appointments can receive their first or second dose of the vaccination on-site during their appointment at no additional charge. (At this time we are not offering COVID booster vaccinations to our patients but we may do so in the near future.)
Furthermore, we are proud to continue to offer Influenza (Flu) Vaccines for our patients at time of service for a nominal charge. Vaccination is recommended by the CDC for most adults.
If you would like further information about vaccination options, feel free to contact us by phone at 703-532-2500 or through our contact form.