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Best of Pharmacy Focused Efforts 

Pharmacy Workforce Protection

Best Practice: Reopening the Pharmacy

  • Discuss and develop the pharmacy’s re-opening plan with the entire staff 

    • Staff needs to feel safe once the pharmacy is re-opened.

  • Consider availability of adequate PPE for staff and patients

    • Face masks are a must for pharmacy staff

  • Screen employees for COVID-19 signs and symptoms prior to work

  • Ensure social distancing is occurring within the pharmacy by putting tape on the floor.

  • Install plexiglass at the check-out counter to protect staff.

  • Ensure the pharmacy surfaces are being sanitized properly

  • Consider limitations to or eliminating the waiting area

Best Practice: Reacting to Reopening - Protecting Pharmacy Staff 

  • As parts of the country are beginning to reopen in different phases, develop a policy based on state-specific guidance for pharmacy staff to follow in order to keep the staff healthy while working within the pharmacy.

  • Med-World Pharmacy is currently keeping their out-front closed, but as the other businesses begin to reopen, they want to ensure the safety of their staff.

Best Practice: Alternative Uses of your Closed Front End: Sanitization Station & Work Stations

  • While the frontend of the pharmacy is closed to walk-in customers this space can be used for additional workspaces and a sanitization station for employees

  • Additional workstations for employees can help maintain social distancing in the pharmacy

  • All employees should first report to the sanitization station prior to starting work and returning from breaks. Employees should wipe down all products brought from home (e.g. coffee mugs, water bottles, phones, lunch boxes etc.) and wash hands before starting or resuming work

  • When the prescription order arrives the sanitization station should be used to sterilize all items (including the drug tote handles and stock bottles) before entering the pharmacy workflow to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to pharmacy employees and patients

  • The sanitization station should include alcohol-based cleaning products, hand sanitizer, and a trash can with an open lid. (Some pharmacies are using UV-c lights if available)

Best Practice: Keeping up Staff Morale 

  • Staff is your #1 asset. Understand that there is a lot of stress and fear in the pharmacy right now. Listen to your staff. Hear their concerns. Share the steps you are implementing to keep them safe.

  • Encourage each employee to leave the pharmacy during the day and walk outside with another employee for at least 15 minutes.

  • Other submitted ideas (under the idea of staff morale):

  • Allow each staffer to select their song of the day then rotate the submitted songs. Play a new song every hour for five minutes. Take that time to wipe down workstations or parts of the pharmacy.

  • Buy lunch for the staff from local businesses. Two benefits: 1) Let your staff know that you appreciate the fact that they are working extra hard under these stressful situations, and 2) Let your staff know that you trying to support other local businesses

  • Personally text all staff members letting them know how thankful you are

Best Practice: Develop Staff Guidance based on the CDC and State Department of Health

  • Have a plan for when staff is potentially exposed to COVID-19 or start to exhibit symptoms

  • Information Available:

    1. "CDC: Pharmacy Considerations"

      • Reviews strategies to minimize close contact between pharmacy staff and customers, to address filling prescriptions, and to reduce risk during COVID-19 testing and other close-contact pharmacy care services.

    2. "CDC Guidance on Post Exposure"

      • ​Interim U.S. Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure in a Healthcare Setting to Patients with Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

    3. "CDC: Critical Infrastructure Workers"

      • ​Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19

Best Practice: All Pharmacy Staff Should Wear Masks

  • Utilize the Mask Summary document in understanding the differences in N95 respirators, surgical masks, and home-made masks.

  • The CDC recommends for the general public to use simple cloth face coverings when in a public setting to slow the spread of the virus. Therefore, pharmacy staff should be wearing masks to protect themselves and patients.

Best Practice: Addressing COVID Personnel and Safety Issues

  • NCPA has a recorded webinar that addresses from a lawyer perspective:

    • Actions for when an owner or an employee has confirmed or suspected COVID-19​

    • Handling a COVID-19 positive case

    • Federal Employment Law Addressing the COVID-19 Crisis

      • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act ; Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act; Tax Credits​

    • Decline in Business Issues

    • The PBM response to COVID-19

Best Practice: Reducing Potential COVID-19 Exposure in the Workplace

  • Implement protocols to manage and control COVID-19 exposure in pharmacy

  • Set a timer to remind staff to wash hands and sanitize workstations every hour

  • Since COVID-19 lives on surfaces, be mindful of checking in orders and handling mail

Best Practice: Providing Employees with a Critical Industry Employee Authorization Letter

  • Customize this letter template for your pharmacy employees, which designates an employee as a critical infrastructure worker, and provides employees with a document to carry with them to show anyone who questions their status.

  • Provide a personalized letter for each of your pharmacy employees.

Best Practice: Taking Care of Ourselves - Mental Health

  • In addition to helping your pharmacy staff with physical procedures and personal protective equipment, take steps to ensure their mental well-being, too.

  • "That Discomfort You're Feeling Is Grief" Article by Scott Berinato: Click here

  • "Yale's massively popular 'happiness' course is available free online": Click here for article

Best Practice: Employee Education

Contract Review
  • Create an Employee Protocol for Standard Operating Procedures

  • ​Have Employees Subscribe to Daily COVID-19 Newsletter (many out there)

  • Can subscribe to COVID-19 Best Practices Bulletin  on the "Get Updates" tab on this site

Best Practice: Managing Staff Shifts to Decrease Potential Exposure 

  • Consider expanding hours and/or splitting shifts

  • Have a hard shift change for pharmacy staff in the middle of the day

  • Nonessential staff to entering and filling prescriptions should perform duties in an isolated room of the pharmacy or work from home

  • Consider moving full time staff to the majority of the days of the week and part time staff to 2-3 days per week.

  • Example from Day's Pharmacy:

    • "We are now splitting days with Team A & Team B from 9:30a - 3p & 3p - 8p. Normally on Monday we have ​an extra tech from 10a - 4p, but he's on Team B so he's coming in 3p - 8p. Neither team will be able to do all of the hours if one team goes down, but if only one person goes down maybe. If not, we'll shift pharmacy hours."

Best Practice: Store Front Only (No Drive Through)

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  • Consider closing storefront and use curbside pick up

  • If storefront is open, ask patrons not to touch anything, maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet, offer to shop with them or for them if helpful for at-risk.

  • Tape squares on the out-front floors that is 6 feet apart leading to the register(s)

Best Practice: Use of Drive-Through Window

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  • Wear gloves to pass medications/bags along to patient

  • Try to proactively queue drive up/drive through at certain times of day to manage line

  • Use signage in parking lot to encourage drive up use

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