19 Safety Measures Ultrasound Practice
Sonoworld Diagnostic Services aims to provide a safe and healthy working environment at all times. It is committed to reducing the risk to the company, sonographers and patients by examining all work activities and applying the principles of risk assessment.
We will continue to operate a reduced hour service for urgent scans only, as long as we could achieve and maintain 4 core principles:
1)we are permitted to remain open
2) our team are well and are available to provide a safe service
3) we have a viable demand for our services
With these principles in mind, we remain open throughout the pandemic, helping many patients in need of urgent scans to obtain a diagnosis when their options have been so limited.
We take protective measures and review the situation on a weekly basis to make sure we eliminate or reduce possible risks; we make sure we keep patients and staff well informed on preventative steps we take.
We advise all patients to be extra cautious and follow protective measures as advised by the WHO.
In accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations (PPE) 1992, it is imperative that appropriate PPE is utilised by sonographer during the ultrasound scan appointments. One of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG) safety statements (2020) highlights that as sonographers are unable to maintain recommended distances from patients during an examination, they need to take all necessary precautions. It was suggested that as sonographers are in close contact with patients they should use contact and droplet precautions. This includes the wearing of a surgical mask, gloves and apron and ensuring good hand hygiene and cleaning the equipment.
A three-ply surgical mask is required when performing ultrasound scans as there is direct patient contact. The surgical masks may be reused during the care of multiple patients, if used to protect the healthcare provider from an activity with low transmission risk, such as ultrasonography. The mask should be replaced as soon as it is damp.
Latex-free disposable gloves should be used during the ultrasound examination and changed after each patient.
COVID-19 is denatured by common disinfection. Good hand hygiene and cleaning of equipment and all surfaces with which patients or droplets might have come into contact is paramount to reducing the spread of the virus.
Any aspect of the ultrasound room that might have become infected by contact or droplets such as the ultrasound machine, couch, keyboard, door handles, sink, payment machine and surfaces will be disinfection in between patients.
Patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should not attend Sonoworld Diagnostic Services for their ultrasound scan. They should self-isolate for the recommended 14 days in accordance with Public Health England guidelines and attend for their ultrasound scan after that period. In addition, patients who are over 70 years of age or who have underlying health concerns should also not schedule an ultrasound scan. If a scenario arises whereby the patient is insisting that their health concern is urgent and that they really require the ultrasound scan urgently, the Sonoworld Diagnostic Services registered manager would have to risk assess.
In the unlikely event of this rare scenario, the patient will be asked to attend at the very end of the ultrasound list whereby the clinic would be thoroughly disinfected before and after their appointment.
Sonoworld team members working must be well and are not allowed to come to the clinic should they develop any type of flu-like symptoms
Changes in practice
This document specifically addresses changes to our ultrasound practice during the COVID-19 in order to provide a safe environment for both the staff and patients.
The following adjustments will ensure that Sonoworld Diagnostic Services can continue to safely provide ultrasound scanning support for patients and the NHS
during these challenging times.
• Our clinic remains OPEN at this time, with reduced hours.
• The safety of our patients and team is our highest priority.
• We screen patients during the booking process to ask whether they have respiratory symptoms that are strongly associated with COVID-19 or if they’ve come into contact with someone who has a confirmed case.
• Those who are considered a risk are not allowed access to the centre.
• Patients coming for a scan are advised not to bring anyone with them in the clinic unless they need assistance.
• Anyone coming to the clinic, including team members and patients, are advised to avoid public transport where possible.
• Our premises are clear of all non-essential items including sofas, coffee tables,
coffee machine, water cooler.
• Doors are kept open wherever possible using door stoppers. This is to reduce all possible touchpoints and allow social distancing at all times.
• The patients entering the premises will be asked to wear the facial mask. If they do not have one, it will be provided by our staff.
• Patients will be notified not to arrive more than 5 minutes earlier than the appointment time so that they are not left waiting in the waiting area/outdoors unnecessarily.
• The patients that are welcomed by the receptionist will be told to take a seat in the waiting area respecting the two metres distancing measure after they have first washed their hands after entering the building.
• The sonographer who is wearing the appropriate PPE will walk the patient into the ultrasound room
• All patients are to wear the facial mask and wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after entering the ultrasound room and before leaving.
• To reduce the risk of exposure to patient and sonographer the ultrasound scans are limited to 10 min per evaluation.
• The patients will be informed that conversations after the ultrasound scan or lengthy explanations will not be provided at the time of the appointment but the sonographer will phone the patient to answer all their questions should they have any
• No reports will be handed to the patient. All reports will be sent to the patient or referring to GP by email.
Procedure for every individual entering the clinic
These instructions are clear and consistent throughout our communications.
We enforce these instructions at our clinic.
• Wash/sanitize hands BEFORE entering the clinic
• Wear a face mask
• Do not bring anyone with you unless you need assistance
• Keep a 2metre distance from the reception desk and everyone elsewhere possible
• Perform check-in when the Receptionist is ready to do so
• Use hand sanitiser and wash your hands regularly
• Dispose of the PPE in the bin provided as you leave the building