How Pharmacies are managing COVID-19

Our CarePlus Pharmacies and Pharmacists play a key role in supporting public health and in particular are recognised as a...

Information from HSPC

Our CarePlus Pharmacies and Pharmacists play a key role in supporting public health and in particular are recognised as a valuable resource for members of the community who are seeking reassurance and information.

At this unprecedented time, our Pharmacies have introduced additional measures in the interest of the safety of both customers and staff.

COVID-19 may spread in either direction from a Pharmacy staff member to a customer or from a customer to a staff member. Good infection prevention and control practice seeks to manage both of these risks in a rational way that respects to dignity and safety of both customer and staff member.

How does it transmit?

Like other respiratory viruses, the virus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted if it reaches the mucosa of the respiratory tract or eyes.

The virus can reach the respiratory tract if an infected person coughs or sneezes when close to another person and the droplets from the cough or sneeze land in the eye, nose or mouth or when contaminated hands touch the eyes nose or mouth.

If a Pharmacy staff member can maintain a distance of 2 metres from the customer’s mouth and nose, they are not within the likely range of droplet transmission. This helps protect both parties.

What is in place in CarePlus Pharmacies?

Key principles to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include;

  • Ensuring measures are in place to minimise chance for exposure
  • Promotion of physical separation, respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette and hand hygiene
  • Keeping up to date with information available from www.hpsc.ie and hse.ie

Public messaging

People who:

  • Have fever and/or a cough
  • Have confirmed COVID-19 infection
  • Are awaiting testing or test results
  • Have been advised to self-isolate
  • Are in at-risk groups for severe complications of COVID-19

should not attend the Pharmacy.

If people in any of these categories have concerns or questions about their medicines or require a supply of prescription or over the counter medicines, they may phone the Pharmacy or send a friend/relative, or have their medicines delivered, if this service is available.

Signage

CarePlus Pharmacies have many forms of messaging about COVID-19, both in the Pharmacies - in the form of leaflets, posters, social distancing floor graphics, TV screen messaging – and online, through their social media platforms and the CarePlus website, highlighting relevant information.

Social distancing

  • Pharmacy staff are asking customers to keep a distance of 2 metres from each and from staff
  • CarePlus Pharmacies have adjusted workflow and layout of the store where needed to facilitate this
  • Staff members are dealing with one person at/near the counter at a time
  • Floor graphics are in place in the store indicating 2 metre distancing and where it is safe to stand
  • Where closer contact is necessary, e.g. to pick up the prescription and pay at the counter, staff members are ensuring the customer is close to the staff member for the shortest possible period of time
  • Prescriptions can be left on the counter for the person to pick up rather than handed to the person
  • Customers are being asked to phone ahead with their prescription or to use the CarePlus app to order, so that their prescription can be collected quickly when they arrive
  • If there will be a delay, e.g. for prescription dispensing, staff will ask people to return at an appropriate time or to wait in their car

At the counter

  • Staff are paying frequent, close attention to regular hand hygiene
  • Tissues and alcohol hand rub are available at the counter and customers are being encouraged to use them
  • Customers may be offered hand sanitiser before they use a commonly shared item such as a pen or touch key pad on a card machine
  • Commonly shared items are cleaned frequently using a detergent or disinfectant wipe
  • Use of contactless cards for payment is encouraged

Cleaning/disinfection

  • Special attention is paid to surfaces or items that are frequently touched by members of the public and/or staff including; counter tops, till, backs of chairs, handles of stationery blood pressure monitoring machines, door handles, dispensing drawers etc.

John Keane, Pharmacist at Keane’s CarePlus Pharmacies, speaks about the measures they are taking in their Pharmacies to protect staff and customers, from social distancing measures, using the CarePlus app and home delivery of medication.



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