Covid-19. Hearing Healthcare Reopening Information
In conventional use, boredom is an emotional and occasionally psychological state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do, is not interested in their surroundings, or feels that a day or period is dull or tedious. One word which has been creeping into our collective conversations in the past week or so is, indeed, boredom. The enforced suspension of busy lives has provided an opportunity for developing new skills, getting on with the things we’ve put off, being creative, and reconnecting with immediate family. It was good while it lasted but now, after 9 weeks, we’re getting twitchy and want to restart our lives again. Boredom has, indeed, started to creep in.
Our Director of Audiology, Robert Beiny, hasn’t had the opportunity to become bored, as he has continued to provide support to our clients and patients throughout the lockdown. We stopped by the Practice last week to chat with him (preserving social distancing of course) to see what he’s been up to. We found Robert in a buoyant mood as he explained he would soon be able to, cautiously, open the Practice’s doors to visitors again.
“It’s been so busy since we decided to restrict physical access to the clinic. We knew we couldn’t let people down and had to maintain support for our clients and friends of the Practice”, he explains.
“In the beginning, it was a challenge to find how we could do this without impacting on our best practices approach to hearing care. Our ethos is to be different and be the best there is in our field – without compromise – so it goes without saying we look after some people whose difficulties are clinically challenging. We had to find a way to still operate at this higher level but being a more ‘creative’ in our approach. It’s been so rewarding to stay connected with people, whether through a car window at the kerbside or through a webcam using clever technology to continue their hearing treatments as though they’re sitting opposite me in the room.”
Did this new approach present any challenges?
“In the main, it’s been seamless, very occasionally frustrating due to internet connectivity or someone not having access to a modern smartphone which could run some special apps. But my lasting memory is of immense satisfaction that we can continue to be there for our clients without interruption. We have had so many daily requests for help, it’s been a challenge for Ali, my long-suffering wife and I, to deal with things as swiftly as we would like.”
Hearing Healthcare Post Lockdown
So has Robert any idea what and when the next phase will be?
“The focus has been to look after our clients and others as best we can, keep ourselves and our team safe but also to make sure the health of the practice is maintained to provide for everyone at the next stage. We’ve achieved our goals so now I’ve been turning my attention to our phased reopening which is imminent. We’ve invested every minute of our spare time to reorganize things so we can see people who need to come in and who have been patiently waiting for us to resume face to face consultations.”
“Phase 2 should be up and running in about a week or so providing there is a clinical need. Followed very quickly by Phase 3 where we’ll be offering the in-depth appointments we’re renowned for. There’ll be times when we will have to wear PPE and also employ rigorous hygiene controls, antiviral disinfectant between visits and locking down rooms – we’ll never be complacent about maintaining people’s safety. We’re preparing to install large mobile room screens so we can safely resume lengthy consultations and chat with our clients. We’re really excited about this, especially as we can’t easily wear face masks – as it hides our mouths making lip-reading impossible”.
“We know people will love the freedom this will provide for them to come back into the Practice whilst staying at a safe distance but accessing the help they need. The benefit of being a small off-high street independent clinic, where people can drive up to the door, wait to be called in, have peace of mind they are in a meticulously clean room and won’t need to mix with others – can’t be understated. Some have already said they’re so pleased they don’t have to go into a more public place to seek hearing healthcare support like a High Street store, a rented room in a chemist or opticians, where there may be a greater opportunity of mingling with more people. All establishments will certainly be ‘Covid Safe’ but this is bound to vary from place to place. As the Principal at Hearing Healthcare Practice, it’s my job to make sure we establish a system that goes beyond general guidance to make sure we provide the best and safest place to visit. It will be a matter of choice. Some might find the measures a little off-putting at first but it will depend on your viewpoint – risk-averse or risk-tolerant. My team and I are definitely the former!” Robert concludes.
We were a little concerned when we first heard about the screens the Practice is installing that they might be like the scene in ‘The Silence of The Lambs’ when Jody Foster is protected from Anthony Hopkins playing the human cannibal, Hannibal Lecter. But if there’s one thing we know about Harpenden’s Hearing Healthcare Practice is the effort Robert and his team invest in creating a welcoming comforting space where people feel relaxed and totally at ease. It’s no different now.
The Practice will open shortly for limited visits and resume full services soon after.