SBI listed recommendations to ensure a safe and socially distant environment for patients and staff as facilities reopen. The recommendations include the following:
- Only see patients who have cleared COVID-19 screening at scheduling and before entering the facility
- Initially reduce or spread out appointments to prevent too many patients from gathering in waiting rooms
- Modify waiting rooms and changing rooms to facilitate social distancing
- Streamline patient registration, check-in, and check-out processes
- Limit staff interactions to the fewest number possible
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including masks for patients and providers, as well as gowns and gloves during procedures
- Consider performing shorter or same-day imaging procedures, including abbreviated MRI, same-day screening interpretation, and same-day biopsy procedures
The society also advised newly reopened facilities to prioritize seeing patients with the greatest need first. This could include women with postponed breast cancer surgery and those with recommendations for percutaneous breast biopsy.
The exact time frames to reopen should be based on several location-specific factors, SBI noted. Factors to consider when reopening include COVID-19 prevalence, government restrictions, the availability of personal protective equipment, and whether surgeons, oncologists, and radiation oncologists in the area have the capacity to accept newly diagnosed patients.
The society recommended that SBI members discuss reopening plans and timetables with multidisciplinary and administrative partners.
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