On Tuesday, May 19, the Provincial Health Officer declared Phase 2 COVID restrictions. This allows some businesses and places of work to re-open with restrictions in place. On May 15, the CDBC circulated a message to all registrants including important documents from the Provincial Health Office, the BC Center of Disease Control and Work Safe BC. Please review the guidelines and expectations to ensure a safe return to work for you and your client.
In April, CDBC also published a virtual practice blog, available here. If you have not already accessed it, you are encouraged to have a look. Since then, the College has received more specific questions from registrants as well as more guidance from the Provincial Health Officer about dietetic practice during the pandemic.
Q: Is there a way to easily find chronological communication that the College has sent us about COVID-19?
All emails that have been sent to registrants over the course of the past several months has been compiled here: https://collegeofdietitiansofbc.org/covid-19/ or simply type “COVID” into the search bar at the top of the CDBC website. Any new communication will always go out as an email and this page will be updated.
Q: I work in a multi-disciplinary clinic and we are all virtual. Do each of us need to get consent from a single client for the virtual care platform use?
It is important to dissociate between consent to access a client via a virtual platform and the consent you require to provide dietetic care, including the collection of personal information.
It is reasonable that a blanket consent form for use of a virtual platform would be adequate if your workplace has consent form terminology such as “access to healthcare services” or similar in its wording. In that instance, if a client consented to the platform for use at your clinic with a previous appointment with an MD, PT, OT or other, you could simply document that consent for use of agreed upon virtual care platform has been previously obtained. The consent form should be part of the electronic or paper health record.
You must still obtain consent for the collection of personal information and for the implementation of a nutrition care plan. This is a separate aspect of consent, which continues until it is removed, or when there is a change in the course of treatment (less than 12-month duration). Once you have obtained consent to treat clients, you do not need to get it every time, unless consent is withdrawn.
The College does not provide consent form templates. It is best to consult your interdisciplinary team and your workplace to ensure you are all using similar (or the same) templates.
Q: When can I return to in-person practice?
You are encouraged to review the communication sent to registrants on May 15.
Q: Are we allowed to work at multiple sites?
All decisions regarding the “safe return to work” during the next few weeks are best made by you because you know your working conditions better than the College. Having said that, here are some considerations when making your decision:
- The public health order prohibiting staff movement between health care facilities is applicable to long term care facilities and private hospitals. It does not apply to dietitians. Please consult the complete order here.
- Do you know if all clinics will be abiding with the infection and prevention measures recommended by BCCDC?
- Do you know if all clinics will be abiding with the work safe BC measures?
- Will you have proper access to PPE in all clinics, if needed?
- Are you sharing your office with other health professionals in the different clinics? Are there changes necessary to the work environment (e.g., highly touched areas and cleaning method and frequency) to decrease the risk of contamination?
- Will you be moving from one clinic to another during the same day? Do you need to rethink your schedule to limit these movements if they are not necessary?
- Do all services provided to these clinics need to be in-person? Can some of them be delivered safely and competently virtually?
- Do you offer services to high risk or vulnerable patients? How might working at multiple sites impact their risk and what measures could be taken to mitigate these risks?