Advanced Eye Institute is excited to have our Houma office re-opened, and we look forward to seeing all of our patients as things progress toward a little more normalcy! If you have an apoointment, please make sure to bring a face mask or face covering, as everyone who enters the office will rerequired to have one! At this time, we are continuing to see only patients with emergent and urgent issues, but are still offering Tele Health appointments for any patients that need consultation! If you are not sure how your condition would be classified, please call us, we are here to help! During this time, these are the protocols that we have implemented for our patients, in order to keep everyone as safe as possible! Please read through them, and call us if you have any questions!
Covid-19 Pandemic Patient Procedures:
The goals and strategies for these policies and procedures are in response to the spread of the Covid-19 virus. These policies and procedures are to be implemented immediately and until further notice in order to:
- Minimize disease transmission to patients, staff members and any other visitors to TLSC and AEI.
- Minimize any waste of PPE across the community health system while still adequately protecting staff and patients from disease transmission.
- Quickly Identify Staff and Patients who may have been exposed to Covid-19 and initiate appropriate counseling and follow up to exposed and/or Covid-19 positive individuals.
In addition to implementing these policies and procedures, our physicians will be triaging patients and making decisions on their appropriate level of necessary medical care, preparing for potential surges in patients with respiratory infections, an also preparing for PPE and staffing shortages.
- Patient Protocols:
The following actions will be taken in response to the community transmission of Covid-19 virus.
- During this public health emergency and in order to ensure the safety of staff and patients, Advanced Eye Insitute and Thibodaux Laser and Surgery Center will be delaying elective ambulatory provider visits/procedures that are not deemed necessary to be seen at this time. This will be determined in accordance with the latest Louisiana Department of Health and CDC guidelines. Physicians will be reviewing patient records individually for all outpatient scheduled appointments and procedures effected during this period in order to evaluate the appropriate level of necessary care. If an ambulatory in office visit or procedure is deemed necessary, AEI/TLSC will make the appropriate accommodations for those patients. For all other patients, Telehealth visits vs reschedule options will be offered. Any new patients requesting ambulatory visits/procedure evaluations will be triaged on a case by case basis by the physicians as well.
For patients who do require an in-office visit, several screening techniques will be utilized to identify any possible exposure risks or symptoms that could be worrisome for Covid-19 illness. The following screening protocols will be utilized for all patients before entrance into the clinics or surgery center:
- Patient will be interviewed over the phone by office staff to help identify any risk factors that would constitute elevated exposure risk or symptoms of Covid-19 viral illness. Depending on results of the interview, the appropriate level of precaution will be taken in the clinic or surgery center for their appointment. In addition, prior to issuing the patient an appointment, all patients will be asked to present to the clinic or surgery center unaccompanied. If a patient does require a chaperone for their visit, the accompanying individual will also be administered screening survey over the phone. Patients and chaperones will also be asked to wear a face covering or mask upon presenting to the clinic or surgery center and for the duration of their appointment.
- If at all possible, prior to an in office or surgery center visit staff will reach out to the patient to collect as much of their new complaint history, existing medical history or changes to it , changes in medications, etc. to try and limit the amount of time staff members take collecting all this data.
- Upon arrival to the office or surgery center, patients will be directed to call the front desk. A staff member will meet the patient outside of the office in order to administer screening survey and perform a temperature check. These procedures will also be administered to any accompanying chaperone. If these criteria are satisfactory, the patient will be admitted to the clinic or surgery center in order to check in with front desk staff.
- After check in, the patient will either be directed immediately into an examination area for assessment, or a pager will be issued and the patient will be asked to return to their vehicle until staff are able to assess them in an available examination area. For our patients with mobility issues (wheelchair dependent, walkers etc.), we will allow limited seating in the waiting area with appropriate social distancing standards, such that any 2 parties will not be within six feet of each other at any time.
- At no time will patients or staff be allowed to gather in common areas such as waiting rooms, kitchens, break areas etc. Social distancing measures will be emphasized at all times.
- After the patient is assessed by the staff member, the physician will then assess the patient. We ask that at the slit lamp the patient refrain from talking, coughing, sneezing, or any other personal contact with staff or physician if at all possible. This is in order to minimize any contact that could result in viral transmission. Once the physician has given instructions and/or administered any necessary treatments or procedures, the patient will be discharged and asked to make any follow-up appointments at the checkout desk and promptly exit the clinic or surgery center.
- For those patients requiring dilation, staff will try to leave patient in the examination area, however you may be asked to return to your vehicle to wait until dilation takes effect. You will be called back by way of pager or cell phone and escorted directly back to an examination area.
- Any patient visiting the clinic or surgery center will need to be contacted 10-14 days after their visit to answer a series of follow-up questions to ensure that the patient has not had any signs or symptoms of Covid-19 during that time period and/or has not tested positive for Covid-19 since their visit. Our facilities are required to immediately inform the Office of Public Health if any such patient tests positive in the 10-14-day period following a visit or procedure.