COVID-19 front door screening implementation: experiences of staff conducting screening

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Kate Kennedy
Jennifer Fish
Deborah Forsythe
Imogen Ramsey
Pamela Adelson


SARS-CoV-2, infection control, hospital, screening, nursing


Background: Many hospitals have implemented COVID-19 risk screening of staff and visitors at point of entry. Little is known about staff perspectives of the screening implementation process. Aims: To investigate the experiences of staff conducting screening at a metropolitan hospital for a novel virus with constantly evolving messaging and knowledge, and to identify potential improvements to screening procedures. Methods: An exploratory cross-sectional survey study of 65 nurses who conducted screening at the hospital. The survey contained quantitative and open-ended questions. Descriptive analyses were conducted for quantitative data. Responses from open-ended questions were analysed using thematic analysis. Findings: Few survey participants (20%) received training prior to screening and under half (47%) felt prepared. A majority of participants rated visitors and staff as often or always willing to complete screening questions and have their temperature checked. Approximately half of participants rated their overall experience of screening as positive and most (81.5%) believed the questions were successful in directing at risk people for COVID-19 testing. Themes identified were: hospital environment and screening station setup; necessity for clear information; difficulties and discomfort; and screening is valuable psychologically and for risk reduction. Discussion: Suggested improvements included training for screening staff, clearly marked screening queues, additional signage explaining requirements, mandatory temperature checking, and separate entry points for staff and visitors. Conclusion: Participants felt their overall experience of conducting screening was more positive than negative and screening provided positive psychological value for staff and visitors; however, various ways to improve screening processes for staff were identified.

What is already known about this topic?

Physical distancing and infection prevention and control measures contribute to reducing COVID-19 infections, therefore to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ease the impact on health systems, screening of staff and visitors for possible viral exposure prior to entry was implemented at healthcare facilities across the world. However, little is known about staff perspectives of the screening implementation process.

What this paper adds:

Front door screening was perceived to reduce risk and increase public confidence. Nursing staff experiences suggest a need for improvements to the process, such as increased training for staff performing the screening, increased signage and clear screening expectations for visitors prior to reaching screening stations, and changes to screening station set up.

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