Clinical consultations are the backbone of any aesthetics appointment. As the pandemic has brought about numerous changes to people’s lives, we, as practitioners, now need to adapt how we conduct these crucial fact-finding missions.
Prepare yourself for reopening now by following these tips on updating your clinical consultations process for post-lockdown appointments…
Check for any COVID symptoms
The list of symptoms associated with COVID-19 is constantly being updated as researchers learn more. As many can be mistaken for less serious, non-contagious health issues, such as hay fever, it is important to check whether your patient has any complaints which may indicate coronavirus.
Obviously this should be done via email, telephone or virtual consultation before an appointment is booked in. If you suspect a client may have COVID, advise them of this, their potential need to quarantine and ask them to call their GP or 111.
Conduct a thorough mental health assessment
As we have outlined previously, it is crucial to allow significantly more time for clinical consultations after lockdown. This is in order to conduct a thorough mental health assessment for each client.
The effects of COVID and its associated lockdowns have a plethora of emotional issues attached to them, putting even more significance on this already crucial part of any patient consultation.
It is vital to establish whether a patient is truly suitable – and ready – for aesthetics treatments at this time. If you are at all unsure, it is prudent to offer the patient a consultation now and explain why you believe that their treatment should be delayed until a more appropriate time.
Whilst this part of the consultation can be conducted in advance of booking an appointment, it is advisable to go through everything with your patient in-person too, in order to pick up on any changes and non-verbal cues.
Operating from a place where you have your patients’ best interests at the heart of your practice – in terms of their wellbeing as well as treatment results – is the key to establishing a trustworthy and ethical reputation in aesthetic medicine.
Ascertain COVID vaccine status and schedule
In addition to the usual patient health assessment, it is important to ascertain their COVID vaccination status before, as well as double-checking during their clinical consultation. Ask if they have received a COVID vaccine yet. If so, find out which type, when and if it was their first or second dose. If they have not had their first or second jab yet, ask if and when these are scheduled for.
As you are no doubt aware, temporary facial swelling has been reported in some patients with soft tissue filler after having the Moderna COVID vaccine. It is important to fully brief your patients as to the risks and management of such reactions prior to carrying out any treatments, particularly if they are still waiting on a first or second vaccine.
Vaccination after-effects generally last a few days after each jab but King’s College London-led research into the Pfizer COVID vaccine has shown these tend to be worse after the second injection. Adverse reactions to COVID vaccines also appear to be more common in those who have had the virus. Therefore, you may wish to leave longer before scheduling an appointment for people who meet either of these criteria.
The Harley Academy protocol for performing aesthetic medicine procedures in line with COVID vaccinations is: patients can be treated with filler either four weeks before the first dose, or four weeks after the second dose.
Ask about home beauty treatments and products used during lockdown
Having seen various media reports about the beauty hacks people are trying at home during lockdown – from “disastrous” chemical peels to self-injected botox and DIY lip fillers – it is important to find out exactly what your patient has been up to before coming to see you!
This trend, coupled with the recent cold weather and reliance on central heating is likely to result in more cases of dehydrated and sensitised skin post-lockdown. It may be the case that you need to recommend a barrier-repairing skincare regimen prior to, or in conjunction with, any aesthetics treatments.
Solutions for maskne – face covering-related spots around the jaw – may also be something your patients are looking for but may not realise you can help with. This is a great add-on, especially for aesthetics practitioners who also offer skin care products.
These are issues that can start to be addressed following a virtual consultation before booking your patient in, which can take place during lockdown. Doing so offers your patients a chance to get a head start on improving their skin health, ready for additional facial optimising injectables once you are physically back in business.
In addition to these updated patient queries, remember to check in with your insurance company prior to resuming your aesthetics appointments after lockdown. You will likely need to refresh your patient consent forms in order to remain compliant with the terms of your coverage, so be sure to take the time to look into the additions required.
You can find more helpful advice on this in our article Reopening Your Aesthetics Business After Lockdown.
And for anyone feeling out of practice after not performing treatments since the autumn, we’ve got you covered with our 1:1 injectables training. Increase your confidence as an injector and learn the latest tips and techniques – including using a cannula – from aesthetic medicine experts. You can start your course straight away with at-home eLearning, ready for the expert-led practical session as soon as we reopen. We can’t wait to see you!