Infection Control in Reception


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Infection control starts the minute someone walks through the front door of your organisation.

It is important that sufficient information, training and support is put in place for all Receptionists and frontline staff to help them deal with the various daily challenges involving infection control.

Staff need to be reassured that the job that they are doing is done well and that they continue to be supported and motivated to provide a good service to your patients.

Staff should be adequately trained to deal with infection control and this training should include cleaners and all Reception staff.

Training

Infection control training should take place on a regular basis for all staff. Do you include cleaners in your training? Some practices have outside agencies; if so, do they hold a copy of your Infection Control Policy?

Does your organisation have a designated person for Infection Control? Is all your staff aware of whom this is?

Do you have a report policy in place for identifying any risks of infection control – Reception should be included in this policy and know whom they should report to.

The Infection Control lead person should carry out the following:

  • Help to motivate colleagues to improve good practice
  • Improve local implementation of infection control policies
  • Ensure that infection control audits are undertaken
  • Assist in the training of colleagues
  • Help identify any Infection Control issues within your organisation and work to resolve these.
  • Act as a role model within your organisation.
  • Ensure that Infection Control protocols are reviewed and updated on a regular basis – or delegate to an appropriate person.

Hand Washing Procedures – Public and Staff Areas

Wash hand basins with suitable taps, liquid soap dispensers, alcohol rubs, paper towels and waste bins are essential items for all clinical care areas.

Whilst it is normally the responsibility of the cleaner to ensure that all of these areas are kept well stocked, some things might run out during the day. Therefore it is important that staff are made aware that these might need to be replenished throughout the day.

I have lost count of the number of times I recently have gone into hospitals and surgeries finding empty alcohol rubs, and toilets without toilet tissue or paper hand towels. It simply is not good enough.

Staff Immunisation Protection

Your Reception staff will be dealing with many Infection Control issues on a daily basis.

They will be receiving samples at the desk from patients. They will be dealing with patients that could possible come into your organisation with an infectious rash and could be asked to help with spillage. It therefore is important to include them in protection against Hepatitis B.

You should also offer your staff annual influenza immunisation.

Any immunisations given to your staff should be recorded. I would recommend that you record those that declined to have any immunisations.

Handling Specimens

Samples should come in a sealed container. I have had experience where many samples have come in all different shape and forms including:

  • A faeces sample in a child’s bucket
  • A faeces sample inside a plastic sandwich bag.
  • A urine sample inside a Tupperware container – the patient in fact asked when we had tested the urine could she have the container back as it was one of her “best containers”
  • A urine sample inside an empty perfume bottle.

These of course are not acceptable, for one it is not acceptable to expect the Receptionist (or nurse) to deal with this, and of course it is not in a sterile container.

Each and every sample should include all the necessary information about the patient, failing to do so could result in the labs refusing to carry out the necessary tests, resulting in the patient having to do the test again and possibly delaying any treatment that may be required.

All blood or potentially infected matter such as urine or faeces for lab testing should be treated as high risk and the necessary precautions taken.

The Reception Area

At the end of each day the Reception area should be left tidy. Often cleaners are instructed not to move paperwork or other items and work around them. Untidy desks therefore do not get cleaned as well as a clear desk.

Ensure that there are disposable gloves available in Reception for the receiving of samples from patients.

Any spillage in reception should be dealt with immediately and reported to the appropriate person.

Magazines and books should be replaced on a regular basis.

Toys made available for children should also be cleaned on a regular basis.

Public telephones should be wiped at regular intervals.

There should be a designated room for patients that might present themselves with a possible infectious disease i.e. chicken pox, measles etc. It is also important to inform the Doctor or Nurse that the patient is in the designated room, as often there is no tannoy facility to call patients in and often they could be missed.

Ensure that there are sick bowls available in Reception as this will be the first place the patient will come to if feeling unwell.

Ensure there are bins available in the waiting room, especially important for the disposal of used tissues, and possible a sign asking patient to place their used tissues in them.

Receptionist play a big part in Infection Control, more than we might sometime realise and its vital that they get it right, and also get the support that they require to do their job well.

Ensure that new staff have Infection Control as part of their induction training, and the necessary protocols are put in place for the Reception Area.

Talk to your Receptionists in a team meeting, often they will identify an area that may not been covered with a protocol. They are the experts in their area – RECEPTION.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

 

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What does it take to become a good Team Player


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A good team player has the ability to work together with others working towards a common vision and the ability to direct individual accomplishments towards organisational objectives.

 

  1. Reliable.

A good team player is constantly reliable day in and day out, not just some of the time. They will strive to get the job done; they will have a good all round understanding of their role and will provide a consistent quality of work. A good team player will have great commitment and will develop a good honest working relationship with the members in their team as well as good communication with others within the organisation.

 

 

  1. Honest and Trustworthy.

Great team players communicate their ideas honestly and clearly and respect the views and opinions of others in the team. Clear, effective communication done constructively and respectfully is the key to getting heard. A good team player will be valued within the team.

 

 

  1. Meets Deadlines.

While getting the work done and doing their share a good team player will know that taking risks, stepping outside their comfort zones, and coming up with creative ideas is what it will take to get ahead. Taking on more responsibilities and extra initiative sets them apart from others on the team. Ensures that the team meets deadlines set by the organisation.

 

 

  1. Adapts quickly.

Good team players sideline and see change, adapt to changing situations and often drive positive change themselves and will strive to encourage change with fellow team members.

 

 

  1. Appreciates other’s work styles.

A good team player takes the time to make positive relationships with other team members a priority and display a genuine passion and commitment toward their team. They come to work with the commitment of giving it 110% and often will expect others on the team to do the same. A good team player will work well with others strengths and support those that have weaknesses. They will value other team members and their experience.

 

  1. Works well within the team.

To be a good team player, you don’t have to be extroverted or indulge in self-promotion. A good team player will be an active participant and do more than their job title states. Put the team’s objectives above theirs and take the initiative to get things done without waiting to be asked. A good team player will always be valued within the team. In return they will build positive perception, gain more visibility, and develop influential connections to get ahead in their career.

 

and remember…………..

Always treat someone in the way you would want to be treated. 

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

Cardboard Stories #homelesspeople #allocatedpatients #immediatelynecessary


 

I had only been in my role of a Doctor’s Receptionist for about 3 months still getting my head around “Temporary Residents” “Immediately Necessary” and “Allocated patients”. Patients that were not registered at our surgery but needed to be seen. Different forms, no history and often quite complex cases and often without patient notes.

I sadly witnessed some racism within the team, often trying to avoid giving appointments to those that could easily be fooled that we didn’t have any appointments hoping they would try another surgery. And I have to confess we did sometimes have some very complex cases. We would have drug addicts trying to obtain drugs and alcoholics, often wanting an appointment just before closing time with the forms to fill and not having notes these appointment would usually run well past closing time, another late night finishing after a very long day.

We had self harming patients that were at the end of their wit’s end – nowhere to go and nowhere to turn to and the patient that was “allocated” to the practice.

Did I judge these patients?  If I am honest to begin with I sadly did.  I was new to the job – the world of a medical Receptionists, a job like no other, I had never dealt with patients before. No proper training on how to deal with such people desperate for appointments, or identifying those simply just “playing the system”

It is so easy to see the drug addict and the self harmer and look down on the homeless person without seeing the actual person.

I was with the practice about 6 months and we had a training session where the Manager  from the local Homeless Shelter came in to talk about the homeless people and because they didn’t have permanent addresses often moved from shelter to shelter and when they needed to see a Doctor they had to be seen as immediately necessary, and she shared with us some of the horror stories that some of her residents had faced when trying to get them a doctor’s appointment. Often being sent from surgery to surgery before being seen.

She then told us about one of her regular customers. His name was Edward. Edward was an alcoholic – he was what some people would call a down and out. Edward just got by from day-to-day. He had tried to take his life but failed. His life was a mess. He had no life as such.

Edward had been homeless for 2 years. Up to this point Edward was just a name, another homeless person – until she told us how he became one of her customers.

Edward was a successful business man. He was very well off and had a beautiful wife and three lovely daughters who he adored. They lived in a lovely house in a nice part of town and very respected within the community. They were all out one afternoon and Edward who was driving crashed the car and his adoring wife and 3 beautiful daughters were killed outright.

Edward suffered with depression, took to drink to block out the memories of that awful day, through the drink he lost his job, his friends, his car and then his house. Edward became homeless.

Edwards story made a big impact on my career, and from then on in I always treated every single person that came into the surgery as exactly that – as a person. Who am I to judge, who was I to decide whether someone should see a doctor or go elsewhere – everyone deserves respect and from then on in every single patient got just that.

Whenever I think back on all the training I have had, that must have been one of the most powerful training sessions I have had and it certainly did teach me a lot.

Every person has a story to tell. Always treat people with respect. What right do we have to judge and count yourself lucky you are not walking in their shoes. 

I recently came across this short clip and it brought me back to my story that I have just shares with you.

Have a look – do you see these people any differently after watching it?

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

 

Its Not Always About The Patient #Dementia #Carer


There are currently approx 800,000 people with dementia in the UK.

Over 17,000 are younger people with dementia and there will be over a million people with dementia in the UK by 2021.

Two thirds of people with dementia are women. One third of people over 96 have dementia.

60,000 deaths a year are directly attributable to dementia.

The final cost of dementia to the UK will be over £23 billion in 2012.

There are 670,000 carers of people with dementia in the UK

Carers of people with dementia save the UK over £8 billion a year.

Identify

Do you identify on the patient’s records that they have dementia; this will often help when the carer is making an appointment on their behalf.

If the carer is a patient at your Practice do you identify them as a carer? Often carers have medical conditions related to being a carer.

  • Back problems due to lifting the patient.
  • Depression. Often due to isolation.
  • Not sleeping due to caring for the patient.
  • Other medical conditions

If medical issues are not identified it can often lead to the carer becoming unwell and the patient having to go into hospital or a nursing home.

Carers save the NHS a lot of money caring for people in their own home. Carers need the support to help them continue caring for their loved ones at home.

Yearly flu vaccinations are vital, if the carer has a bad attack of the flu the cared for person will often have to go into respite care.

Appointments

If a carer telephones for an appointment always try and accommodate them in a time or day that is suitable for them.

Carers will often accompany the person with dementia to the GP. The carer can often describe the symptoms or problems to the GP or Nurse. The carer can often remember afterwards what was said and provide the appropriate support.

Confidentiality

Sometimes people with dementia prefers to see their GP alone, or it may not be possible for anyone to go with them. If this is the case a family member may wish to talk to the GP afterwards. When a carer or relative contacts a GP with concerns about a person, the GP may decline discussion on the ground of breaking patient confidentiality.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has issued guidance on this matter (confidentiality 2009) The guidance states that doctors should listen to the concerns of carers, relatives, friends or neighbours because they may have valuable information that can help the patient. The GP should make it clear they may tell the patient about the conversation.

Respecting Cultural Values

Some patients might have cultural or religious background. If so it is important if these are identified that everyone at the Practice acts accordingly. These may include:

  • Religious observances, such as prayer and festivals
  • Touch or gestures that are considered disrespectful
  • Ways of undressing
  • Ways of dressing the hair
  • How the patient washes or uses the toilet

The person with dementia might not be able to explain about their culture so it is important that the carer informs the Receptionist or the Doctor before the appointment.

Training for Receptionists

It is important that your Receptionists are not only aware of patient needs but the needs of carers too.

By understanding any illness or disability it can often help when dealing with patients and their carers over the phone or at the front desk.

There are lots of organisations dealing with dementia that would be more than willing to come and talk to your receptionists and give them some insight into the life of someone suffering with dementia and that of the carer too.

Here are so do’s and don’ts of communication that might be useful for Receptionists.

Do

 

Don’t

Talk to the person in a tone of voice that conveys respect and dignity.

Talk to the person in “baby talk” or as if you were talking to a child.

Smile – this will help relax the person.

Don’t argue – the demented brain tells the person they can’t be wrong

Maintain eye contact by positioning yourself at the person’s eye level. Look directly at the person and ensure you speak clearly.

Glare at the person you are talking to. Always use good body language.

Use visual cues whenever possible.

Begin a task without explaining who you are or what you area about to do.

Be realistic in expectations.

Talk to the person without eye contact, such as while typing on the computer.

Observe and attempt to interpret the person’s non verbal communication.

Try and compete with a distracting environment; Loud noises, other people talking at the same time.

Use positive body language and a reassuring tone of voice.

Provoke a reaction through unrealistic expectations or by asking the person to do more than one task at a time.

Speak slowly and clearly

Disregard talk that may seem to be “rambling”

Encourage talk about things that they are familiar with

Shout or talk too fast.

Be kind – treat them, as you would want your family to be treated.

Interrupt unless it cannot be helped.

Keep your explanations short. Use clear and flexible language.

Invade their personal space if they are showing signs of fear or aggression.

 

Invade their personal space if they are showing signs of fear or aggression.

 

Use complicated words or phrases and long sentences.

Carers

Does your practice have a Carers Group? Such groups have proved to work extremely well in many surgeries.

I formed a Carers Group at my Surgery and the group would meet every 3 months, at lunchtime. Carers that were caring for people with all disabilities would come along for 2 hours to sit and chat. We would have different organisations attending the meetings on subjects that would help the carers in many different ways. We would have someone in from Social Services to talk about their entitlements. Someone in from Help and Care would come and help out, the local Fire Officer would come in and talk about safety in the home, and we would often have local businesses coming in to show support in many different ways.

But the most important part of these Carers Meetings were that the Carers had someone to talk to, people who understood what they were going through. Friendships were formed and often problems halved.

And finally……….

Each person with dementia is an individual with their own experiences of life, their own needs and feelings, their own likes and dislikes.

Dementia affects each person in a different way.

We all needs to feel valued and respected and it is important for a person with dementia to feel that they are still valued.

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© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

The Threatened Receptionist


Working in general practice as a Receptionist, Supervisor and a Manager nothing ever surprises me anymore, and just when you think you have seen it all something else comes along to add to the endless stories that working in a surgery brings.

The highs and lows the funny and the sad you never get two days exactly the same.

This story was a new one to me, one that I haven’t come across.

I was chatting to a friend yesterday to works in a GP Surgery. She told me that there had been an incident in their admin office. Whilst she was talking to a patient she could hear raised voices at the end of the office. When my friend had finished her call she turned her attention to the receptionist who was obviously very upset by the call.

She presumed that the caller has been an “unhappy patient” – she was wrong.

The caller phoned the Surgery and asked for the receptionist by her first and surname. The caller was put through to her and she was not expecting what came next.

The receptionist explained the nature of the call and how it involved Facebook.

A couple of days previous the Receptionist had been on Facebook. She came across a random post that one of her friends had shared. She didn’t know the person but she left a comment, which she didn’t think was upsetting or rude but obviously the person that had posted the comment felt very strongly about the comment she had left and was not happy.

The person traced the Receptionist to her place of work. How? She had it on her Facebook Profile where she worked and that she was a Receptionist.

The Receptionist was worried, as the caller had her name, knew where she worked, and of course could easily be identified due to the fact that all the staff wears name badges, with their first and surname on and she had no idea what this caller looked like – it could be anyone that walked in through the Surgery doors.

The caller told her that she was going to come along to the surgery and give her a black eye. The Receptionist was obviously worried and upset as the caller sounded angry and threatening.

She worried that the caller might wait for her outside of the surgery and follow her home.

As a Manager how would you react to this? Would you see it as a problem you would have to sort out, or seeing it started outside of work would you not want to get involved?

We then have to question should staff be putting information on their Facebook to where they work and what they do? Have you a right as a manager to say staff cannot do this? Perhaps not, but it is something that could be discuss at a team meeting, to make people aware of the consequences when they do put where they work.

A similar story to this happened when I first starting working as a Receptionist and one of my colleagues had an unusual surname, a patient that used visit the surgery on a regular basis took a liking to her. He asked out on a date a couple of times and each time she gently let him down.

The patient had mental health problems; because he knew her name he was able to get her address and number out of the telephone directory (this was before internet times). He then started stalking her, telephoning her at all hours of the day and night. The incident involved the police, many sleepless nights, which resulted in her moving out of her flat for a while. It was sorted, she changed her telephone to ex directory and everything calmed down.

At the time this incident affected the whole team. Name badges were questioned.

As a manager I always kept this story in my mind, and would only ever have first names on name badges for Receptionists who deal with the general public.

Does your staff give their full names whilst working?

Are first names sufficient on name badges for Receptionists? I think so.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

THE BEAVER #personality test – 6/6


The 5 minute personality test is written over 6 blogs – follow from blog 1 – 6 to see who you are most like!

Following on from the personality test here are the description of:

B = BEAVERS

Beavers have a strong need to do things right and by the book. In fact, they are the kind of people who actually read instruction manuals. They are great at providing quality control in an office, and will provide quality control in any situation or field that demands accuracy such as accounting, engineering, etc. Because rules, consistency and high standards are so important to Beavers, they are often frustrated with others who do no share these same characteristics. Their strong need for maintaining high (and often times unrealistic) standards can short-circuit their ability to express warmth in a relationship.

 

National Strengths

  • Accurate
  • Analytical
  • Detail-oriented
  • Thoroughness
  • Industrious
  • Orderly
  • Methodical and exhaustive
  • High standards
  • Intuitive
  • Controlled

National Weaknesses

  • Too hard on self
  • Too critical of others
  • Perfectionist
  • Overly cautious
  • Wont make decisions without “all” the facts
  • Too picky
  • Overly sensitive

 

Basic Disposition:

Slow-paced, talk-oriented

 

Motivated by:

The desire to be right and maintain quality

 

Time Management:

Beavers tend to work slowly to make sure they are accurate

 

Communication Style:

Beavers are good listeners, communicate detail, and are usually diplomatic.

 

Decision Making:

Avoids making decisions; needs lots of information before they will make a decision.

 

In Pressure or Tense Situations:

The Beaver tries to avoid pressure or tense situations. They can ignore deadlines.

 

Greatest Needs:

The Beaver needs security, gradual change and time to adjust to it.

 

What the Beaver Desires:

Clearly defined tasks, stability security, low risk, and tasks that require precision and planning.

THE GOLDEN RETRIEVERS #personality test – 5/6


The 5 minute personality test is written over 6 blogs – follow from blog 1 – 6 to see who you are most like!

Following on from the personality test here are the description of:

 

G = GOLDEN RETRIEVERS

One word describes these people: LOYAL. They are so loyal, in fact, that they can absorb the most emotional pain and punishment in a relationship and still stay committed. They are great listeners, incredibly empathetic and warm encourages. However, they tend to be such pleasers that they can have great difficultly being assertive in a situation or relationship when it’s needed.

 

 

National Strengths

  • Patient
  • Easy-going
  • Team player
  • Stable
  • Empathetic
  • Compassionate
  • Sensitive to feelings of others
  • Tremendously loyal
  • Puts people above projects
  • Dependable
  • Reliable
  • Supportive
  • Agreeable

National Weaknesses

  • Indecisive
  • Over-accommodating
  • May sacrifice results for the sake of harmony
  • Slow to initiate
  • Avoids confrontation even when needed
  • Tends to hold grudges and remember hurts inflicted by others
  • Fears change

 

Basic Disposition:

Slow-paced, people-oriented

.

Motivated by:

Desire for good relationships and appreciation of others.

 

Time Management:

Golden Retrievers focus on the present and devote lots of time to helping others and building relationships

 

Communication Style:

Two-way communicator; great listener and provides empathetic response.

 

Decision Making:

Makes decisions more slowly, wants input from others, and often yields to the input.

 

In Pressure or Tense Situations:

The Golden Retriever gives in to the opinions, ideas, and wishes of others. Often too tolerant.

 

Greatest Needs:

The Golden Retriever needs security; gradual change and time to adjust to it; an environment free of conflict.

 

What the Golden Retrievers Desires:

Quality relationships; security; consistent known environment; a relaxed and friendly environment; freedom to work at their own pace.