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Patients Feel Safer with Added Protection During their Mammogram

by Megan Sargalski

Breast centers across the country have instituted additional safety measures in order to make it as safe as possible for both patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This is inclusive of wearing PPE (personal protective equipment), distancing patients in the waiting room, staggering appointments, and disinfecting equipment.

One extra step that some facilities are using, is a protective cover on the receptor plate that acts as a sanitary barrier between the patient’s skin and the equipment. 

We asked these facilities how they feel Bella Blankets protective coverlets has helped them during COVID-19. 

More important than ever to help patients feel comfortable about their mammogram

“Bella Blankets® is even more important now because it adds an extra layer of protection for the patient. Placing it on the receptor in front of the patient demonstrates that it hasn't been used before and is new for them,” said a mammography technologist in Glen Valley, Virginia. 

She added, “It also helps make the patient more comfortable because the blanket makes the machine not feel as cold and hard. This makes a big difference in how much the patient relaxes and that makes for easier and better positioning. Whatever can make them a little more likely to cooperate with an exam which almost every patient dreads is a plus!” 

“I think patients feel some extra comfort/safety amid COVID-19 with our use of the Bella Blankets,” agreed a lead mammographer in McMinnville, OR. “When we first re-opened, we were asked almost daily if we had cleaned the equipment. Patients have commented that the Bella Blankets are very pretty. We are really enjoying the Bella Blankets and have noticed that we are able to obtain more breast tissue on all four images. Also, in hindsight we were getting an artifact high in the axilla from using another product.”  

Comfort determines whether patients choose to come back or skip exam 

Patient comfort during a mammogram is essential. Not only does patient comfort impact positioning and the quality of the mammogram, it is also a key factor that determines whether a woman will come back for further exams. 

A recent survey found that that 52% of women find mammograms uncomfortable, while 25% of them consider them painful. 

In that same survey, 32% of women said that uncomfortable experiences were keeping them from making another mammogram appointment.  

Helping put patient minds at ease during a pandemic can add to their perception of comfort beyond the physical experience as well, according to one lead mammography technologist in Sharon, CT. 

“Bella Blankets offer another layer of sanitary protection that I think patients do recognize when they walk into the room. Most of my patients like the look and feel of the blankets. Their skin isn't placed right on the hard, cold plastic” 

A lead technologist from Hannibal, Missouri stated, “Bella Blankets® are more important than ever. The single use comfort of Bella Blankets provides another layer of protection for the patient in a time when patients may be leery of touching public use items regardless of the cleaning performed on the equipment. Patients are happy that there is something between them and the cold detector."

Sanitary measures highly valued by mammography patients, especially during COVID-19

This may go without saying but taking extra sanitary measures during any medical procedure is important to reduce the risk of exposure to any infectious agent. 

With little still known about the spread of COVID-19 and its high infection rate, it becomes doubly so.  

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) recommends routine cleaning and disinfection procedures in any healthcare setting.  

Medical facilities have certain guidelines they must abide by, and many go above and beyond to make patients feel as safe as possible. 

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, a survey conducted of 2,448 patients at 64 breast centers that were using Bella Blankets across the U.S. demonstrated how important visible sanitary practices are to patients.  

93% of the survey participants felt that using the protective coverlet provided them a sanitary barrier and 96% felt cared for during their exam. 

Now during the pandemic, awareness and appreciation of visible sanitary practices is elevated even more. 

During her interview, a mammography technologist from Granite Falls, Mississippi told us, “Someone just today questioned if we wipe down the machine. We showed her the wipes and explained that Bella Blankets® is used for single time use and offers added protection. She said, ‘Thank you so much, I feel so much better.’” 

“Patients are very aware of what you are doing to keep surfaces clean during this pandemic”

According to the manager of a breast imaging center in Nashville, Tennessee, “Patients are very aware of what you are doing and using to keep surfaces clean during this pandemic. Patients have indicated that not only do they appreciate having something between them and the detector, they appreciate the added layer of protection when we explain that the blanket is a part of our infection control efforts. It gives them the sense that we are doing everything possible to keep them safe.”

A QA/QC mammography technologist in Olean, New York, agrees. “Even though the machine is cleaned off in between patients, the Bella Blanket gives added protection to the patient, especially during COVID-19. It provides more protection from the patient’s skin contact with the machine. We use them for all patients, even for breast biopsies. We have had many people come from other facilities that have complimented us on using the Bella blankets. The patients truly love them.” 

Other facilities have had the same experience with patients stating how much they appreciated having Bella Blankets used during their exam: 

  • Mount Vernon, Illinois: “I think Bella Blankets® is even more important because it adds a layer of protection for each patient. Most of our patients are already familiar with having a Bella Blanket during their exam but I have had a couple of comments stating they appreciated having it on the machine during this time.”
  • Richmond, VA: “Patients like the plate covered during COVID-19. It makes them feel safer. The technologist had a patient that didn’t remember using the Bella Blanket last time and really appreciated her using it for her mammogram this time.”  
  • Wyoming, MI: “Our patients have always liked the Bella Blankets®. With our recent COVID-19 situation, I have heard patients state they are glad there is something covering the unit and we still assure them everything is cleaned before placing the Bella on the unit. We get positive feedback from patients.”

 

The Overall Importance of Breast Health

Mammograms save lives and are the only method proven to reduce breast cancer related deaths

Making sure that a patient is comfortable and continues to receive the best quality exam possible, even during a pandemic, is at the forefront of every mammographers mind, and Bella Blankets help make that possible at a time when patients are understandably nervous and may consider putting off their screening exams. 

As a mammography supervisor in Merrillville, Indiana stated, “Our Breast Center feels like Bella Blankets® offer peace of mind for patients during COVID-19. They are changed after every patient and offer another layer of sanitation.” 

She added that Bella Blankets probably brings more peace of mind for her and her staff, as they know we are doing the best for their patients by offering a very clean experience. And that this was their standard of care even before the pandemic. “We have always used Bella Blankets, so with COVID-19, our standard was already in place.” 

Adding that her facility has always taken extra precautions to make patients feel more comfortable and offer them as much protection as possible she related a story about a patient who was very anxious about getting her mammogram due to fears of the virus. 

“We explained our processes to her and showed her how we place a Bella Blanket prior to each patient. This helped to calm her anxiety and made it acceptable for her to have her exam. She was very appreciative for the extra steps we took to ensure her safety.”

If you are interested in more information about Bella Blankets contact your Beekley Medical Account Manager at 1-800-233-5539 or email [email protected] for a trial evaluation for your facility. 

 

Related Articles: 

Safeguarding Mammography Equipment Beyond the Disinfectant Spray

Getting into the Mind of the Patient: The Mammo Diaries

Patient Fears, Anxiousness, and Reaction to Skin Tears in Mammography

Patient Fears, Anxiousness, and Reaction to Skin Tears in Mammography
 

This post was originally published on this site.