The Union Health Ministry has issued guidelines for safe Ear, Nose & Throat- ENT practice amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The guidelines are aimed at minimising the spread of Covid-19 infection among ENT doctors, nursing staff, support staff, patients and their attendants.
According to the guidelines, all patients entering the ENT OPD shall be thermal screened to minimize exposure to staff and patients. The Ministry said that patients having symptoms suggestive of Covid 19 whether ENT or Respiratory Symptoms, should be seen in a separate Covid-19 screening Clinic and not in the ENT OPD.
At the entry point of OPD, it has been suggested to regulate entry of patients and to ensure use of mask, hand hygiene and social distancing. It also advised that teleconsultation will be preferable and pior teleconsultation can be done to identify patients requiring physical examination in clinic.
The Ministry said that Covid-19 positive patients are to be operated only for emergency indications in designated operation theatres for Covid patients. It has also suggested avoiding performing endoscopy in routine OPD, adding that even if this has to be performed, it should be done preferably in a separate demarcated area with Level II PPE kit.
The guidelines also said that the Covid suspect patients should be treated in a separate ward for Covid-19 patients. They should be shifted to ENT ward only after confirmation of Covid negative status.