Strict Prevention and Control Measures During COVID-19 in RT, Lebanon




Since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, Radiotherapy (RT) departments who have more than one medical physicist worked in two shifts alternating every week. RT departments with only one medical physicist continued to treat patients as usual. Therefore, a maximum effort was required by the medical physicist who could not stop to provide treatment planning and QA, despite the increased risk of coronavirus infection.

To mitigate this burden, only urgent cases were appointed as new cases (e.g. spine compression) and treatments that could be postponed were rescheduled for a later time (after the lockdown). In this way the activity of the RT departments was reduced by almost 50%.

Since February 2020, RT departments in Lebanon have implemented strict infection prevention and control measures, with implementation of protection regulations, standard office sterilization, wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE), measurement of body temperature every day, splitting work force, and adjusting workload, etc. The details of these measures are described below:
  • Temperature measurement is mandatory at the access control point at the entrance of the radiotherapy area. In addition to basic medical clothing, goggles and gloves that must be worn by those who are responsible for disinfection and temperature measurement of patients and family members.
  • Strict control of treatment time and treatment interval to prevent patients and their family members from interacting in the treatment area.
  • Prevention and control of staff in the radiotherapy room and disinfection in simulation and treatment rooms (Clean and disinfect equipment: CT simulator, Linac and operation table surfaces, twice a day).
  • Instructions for staff to take precautions during face‐to‐face meeting such as wearing mask all the time, keeping sufficient distance from other participants, opening windows for better ventilation, and minimize the meeting time.
    In summary, infection prevention and control measures have been successfully implemented in RT departments treating over 300 patients during the COVID‐19 outbreak in Lebanon. So far, none of our radiotherapy staff or patients has been confirmed to be COVID‐19 positive.

Dr Zeina Alkattar Elbalaa,
Chairperson, Professional Relations Committee MEFOMP
Certified Medical physicist
Associate Professor - Researcher
Rafic Hariri University Campus - Hadath

September 13th 2020
mefomp reporter



              


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