Things You Can Do to Prepare
The Arkansas Department of Health and Arkansas Pharmacists Association strongly recommend that all pharmacies take the following actions:
- Use calming and reassuring language when patients ask for information.
- Have a fact sheet available to answer questions from patients on prescription refills, emergency supplies, payer coverage of medications and other Rx-related information.
- Encourage patients to have appropriate medications on hand to treat viral symptoms, so they will not have to go out if they develop COVID-19.
- Establish a process for older adults, pregnant women and individuals with chronic health conditions to obtain medications without waiting in line, such as utilizing a pharmacy drive-through window or a medication delivery service if available.
- Report unusual patient complaints, surges in symptoms of fever, cough or respiratory distress, or surges in sales volumes of cold and flu medications, over-the-counter painkillers or hand sanitizer.
- Implement infection control procedures, especially for clinic waiting areas:
- Provide a mask to customers who are coughing or sneezing.
- Make sure staff maintain a distance of three feet from asymptomatic patients and at least six feet from those actively coughing.
- Regularly clean and disinfect counters, waiting areas and other spaces where public interaction occurs with an EPA-approved disinfectant. Clean at least every hour or after every 10 patients, whichever is more frequent.
- Place alcohol-based hand sanitizer next to the checkout window so people can sanitize their hands after using common items, like the pen used to sign for prescriptions.
- Monitor all staff for sickness regularly. Take temperatures once per shift and send them home if they have symptoms of a respiratory infection.
- Update sick leave policies to address placing employees on sick leave if a family member is sick and to include a post-illness return-to-work procedure.
- Take recommended actions for unprotected exposures (e.g., not using recommended personal protective equipment, an unrecognized infectious patient contact).
- Know your active standing orders, collaborative practice agreements and memorandums of understanding. Know the most up-to-date timelines on when you may be receiving certain capabilities or products (vaccines, therapeutics, testing).