Waiting room worries: Staying safe when visiting your doctor during COVID-19

   

Jade Poole from I write words

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Waiting room worries

If you’re wary of visiting your doctor amid Coronavirus, don’t sweat it. We’ve done the research and here’s how you can keep safe and healthy whilst you’re making sure you’re, well, safe and healthy.

Going to visit your doctor doesn’t need to be a worrisome affair - there are so many effective protocols that have been put in place by the experts themselves (I know this after a thorough rebuking by my doctor for my flimsy mask which was quickly swapped for their medical-grade ones). If this lockdown has taught us anything, however, it is that individual responsibility and consideration plays a huge role in how this virus plays out.

Your compliance and caution even in the most sanitized of spaces still go a long way, and we’re going to give you an update on how to do exactly that!

Don’t ghost your doctor

Lately, it seems as if all other diseases and ailments have come to a grinding halt and that COVID-19 is the only virus that requires medical assistance. The truth of the matter is that while it seems the dreaded virus has put everything on pause, we know that your health is still a priority (whether it be COVID-19 or a persistent, worrying headache) and that chronic and long term health issues still need to be catered to with the utmost care.

Check this out: Taking care of your mental health during a pandemic

Studies have shown that there has been a significant decrease in how many people are going to visit their doctors. Perhaps people have become more selective about what warrants medical attention but there is also the possibility that people are either too afraid or feel their ailment may detract from the care given to COVID-19 patients. We’re here to tell you loud and clear: it is still very much your right to seek the medical attention you deserve when and where you need it. Here are just a few examples of what absolutely warrants medical attention during COVID-19:

  1. Heavy Bleeding and Physical Trauma.
  2. Signs of Broken Bones (Trust us, best to leave the fusing of bones to the experts).
  3. Essential Vaccinations and Immunizations for your baby. Call your paediatrician to work out the timeline for when these vaccinations need to happen by and ensure that they do.
  4. Signs of an oncoming stroke (click here to brush up on recognising these signals) or heart attack.
  5. High Fever
  6. Difficulty Breathing

The good news is if you do find yourself feeling uncertain (for example if you aren’t dealing with a gunshot wound and perhaps more of a persistent rash) the Oneplan app allows you access to qualified nurses who can assist in answering any questions you have about your health concerns and what your insurance covers you for.

How To Help Out The Frontline

The precautions that you take every day make a difference in the lives of our healthcare workers who are at the forefront of fighting this virus. Although a doctors room may be one of the safest public spaces to be, here are a few things you can do to lighten the load of our doctors and nurses.

Give Them a Ring

Before just showing up, phone ahead to make sure there is space for the doctor to see you and to allow for the receptionist to monitor who is coming in and out. Ask about the protocols in place and where they would prefer you to wait (maybe outside, in your car or to arrive in the waiting rooms just before your appointment to avoid lingering).

Calling in advance is also an opportunity for you to disclose if there are any COVID-19 symptoms you have been displaying and what the protocols are for that, as you may be advised to rather self isolate for a period. It is worth investigating if your doctor offers telemedicine consultations - you may find that you can be diagnosed without a visit, or you may be advised to rather visit a specialist, narrowing down your number of physical interactions.

By phoning ahead you can also request your invoice to be electronically sent to you, making it possible to have at least one less point of contact for germs to spread. This is made even easier with our policy of you being paid before you go and visit your doctor, giving you peace of mind for both your health and your wallet.

While you’re here, you might want to read this: Everything you need to know about COVID-19 tests

Stay On The Ball

Keeping on top of your prescriptions is a great way to ensure that doctors rooms move efficiently. Find out if your doctor can renew your scrips telephonically or if they can prescribe you longer scripts that require fewer physician visits. This is especially important for daily medication such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, birth control or any medication that requires consistent and regular consumption.

You Know The Drill

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past five months, you should know the basic coronavirus etiquette. Be honest about your symptoms, wear an appropriate mask (to avoid aforementioned embarrassments) and wash your hands. Wash your hands a lot.

Just because doctors rooms are exceptionally sanitised, the human error means that sometimes spots get missed and your efforts will have a domino effect whether you know it or not. Touch as little as possible and keep your interactions to a minimum. If you find yourself overwhelmed, take a deep breath and know that you are in a safe environment and deserve to be receiving the best possible healthcare that you can.

Check this out: Health Insurance vs. Medical Aid vs. Hospital Plans: 5 Key Differences

Before we know it, ladies and gentlemen, we will be out of the woods. Until then, keep others safe and keep yourself safe.

Yours in hassle-free healthcare,

The Oneplan Team



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