Our COVID-Safe Protocol

Facialteam’s COVID-Safe protocol is a contingency plan that analyses potential situations in advance in order to take preventative action and enable timely, effective responses. The protocol was developed in anticipation of reopening on June 16th, 2020.

(Updated August 2021, original post published 20 May 2020)

This type of “preparedness management” is common in our day-to-day work in the medical field already, considering the strict operating theatre policies on hygiene and sterilization.  

However, the current global situation has presented unique scenarios. For this reason, our readiness response strategy has been renewed in order to prevent, anticipate and resolutely manage any COVID-related incidences that may arise during our activity.

Please note that guidelines are subject to change, updating regularly to current policies of the Health Ministry.

The Intra-COVID preparedness period

How long is the “active pandemic period” and how are we preparing for it?

We define the “active pandemic period” as beginning with the official WHO declaration of a world pandemic and continuing until normalization as effective treatment against the virus becomes available to the general population. 

The duration of this period may differ in distinct areas as vaccines are developed and administered at varying rates. A number of measures and strict precautions have been progressively implemented in order to guarantee security and minimize the risks of transmission during this period.

In our case, within the discipline of facial gender-affirming surgery, we have defined multiple preparedness policies in relation to patients, staff and the installations. These COVID-Safe protocols permit our surgical activity with the maximum guarantees of safety for everyone involved. 

Our 4-point Readiness Response 

Our pledge, as always, is to instill complete trust in the excellence of our services–especially in these complex times.

To this purpose, we have defined four distinct areas of the COVID-Safe Protocol:

1.  Patient Travel & Reception

1.1 How to travel safely

First, be sure to read the covid updates of your own embassy in Spain as well as the Spanish Tourist Agency here to find out about any required entry visas or quarantine requirements upon your return home, if any.  This is changing as the pandemic continues to unfold and is typically updated every 7 – 30 days.

Don’t forget, it is mandatory to fill in the Spanish Government’s Sanitary Control Health Form for all inbound travelers! 

So you made it here! All our patients will receive a COVID-Safe Travel Guide on how to travel safely to and from Marbella. In addition, we will explain the extra precautions implemented, such as with our transportation service locally.

Before you travel to Spain, we send you a daily survey for 14 consecutive days in order to detect any possible symptoms, previous travel to risk areas, quarantine requirements or known contact with COVID-19.

Travellers to our center will receive a Facialteam Sanitary Protection Kit with a facial mask and alcohol gel directly upon arrival by our trusted transport service, duly disinfected between clients.

1.2 Testing

Various stages of detection testing for COVID-19 have been implemented, for greater all-round precautions and safety.

  • Pre-travel testing in home country.
  • Pre-operative testing in Marbella, if not vaccinated and has not had covid in the 90 days prior.
  • Post-operative tests necessary to clear patient for international travel.

If before surgery you test positive for covid, no worry, Facialteam waives the cancellation fees to reschedule your surgery at a later date.

1.3 Precautionary PRACTICES & Hygiene

According to the International Society of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS), the risk of COVID-19 is significantly minimized when adequate precautions are taken. We will require patients to comply with the following guidelines:

  • Hygiene: Before entering the clinic, hand disinfection with alcohol gel and use of facial mask is required. If you don’t have your own, call in advance so we may provide before entering. 
  • Masks & Social Distancing: Wear a FFP2 mask and keep a minimum 1,5 meters distance from others.
  • Temperature checks: Required upon entry into certain closed spaces as well as reconfirmation of hand disinfection.

2. Installations & Offices

Facialteam and HC Marbella International Hospital have reviewed biosecurity protocols, implementing a more stringent practice. For example,  strict visitation rights may limit the number of guest and companion visits.  Some of the actions implemented include:

2.1 Environments. All spaces for patients are meticulously disinfected. Employees are trained in sanitation protocols, which are reinforced regularly.

2.2 Offices. The air quality of closed spaces is controlled with air purifiers. Other adaptations such as increased space between personell and space dividers have been installed.

2.3 Social Distancing & Logistics. To limit the contact of people on the hospital grounds, marked pathways in reception help visitors maintain social distancing at all times.

3.  Surgical Protocol

Doing our utmost to create a protective environment in the hospital and during your recuperation is fundamental. How will this work?

3.1 Preoperative Briefings. Facialteam’s Surgical Protocol Guide for Patients unifies all the details, from the preoperative preparation, to the testing & diagnostics, consultations, operations and finally the postoperative care in Marbella. This will be sent to patients in advance of their arrival so any questions may be answered in advance.

3.2 Surgery, Hospital Stay. Our operating theaters, equipped with the latest generation in technology, are already prepared for reactivation with reinforced systems for strict hygiene, sanitation and safety.  Here is a the ISAPS link library for relevant information on clinical management during a virus outbreak. For best prevention, visitors will be discouraged while you are in hospital, but not prohibited, respecting strict hospital guidelines.

3.3 Postoperative Period. A specific guide has been created for patients staying in La Villa Marbella during recuperation, who will still benefit from our daily nurse checkups, which will provide tips for the best prevention after surgery, when you are more still vulnerable. Our transportation service is available as usual for appointments, requiring passengers to disinfect hands and wear a mask upon entering. Before leaving Spain, we will conduct a briefing and provide a detailled postop guide to help you take the necessary care of your health while travelling and recovering at home. The appropriate travel authorizations and COVID-negative certificates will be ready for your return trip to your home country.

4. Staff Protocol

All Facialteam and HC Hospital employees are informed and trained regarding the implemented COVID-Safe protocols. Staff are subject to surveillance such as temperature scans and periodic testing. Regarding contact with patients, social distancing and other recommendations of the health authorities are reinforced to prevent virus transmission.

The above protocols underwent rigorous implementation well in advance of beginning our clinical activity again. Any and all updates or modifications have been integrated as they arise during the active pandemic period.

Information for scheduled patients

Patients whose surgery is scheduled will receive briefings by their coordinators and the medical department to ensure preparedness.

For those patients staying in La Villa Marbella, our recommended lodging, a briefing with a special Covid-Safe pamphlet will also be provided for specific instruction during your stay.

Facialteam reopened in June 2020 with this Covid-Safe Protocol in place.  Our full staff have been in place since September 1st. Nearly a hundred surgical patients from 25 countries around the world came to Marbella over in the period between June – September 2020. Despite disruption due to travel restrictions, people from 4 continents have moved forward with surgery with a 0% incidence of covid cases.  It’s a lot of testing, but prevention is fundamental for the safety of everyone.

Looking forward, patients will continue to be given flexibility in cancellation and rescheduling policies.  However, as these remain unsettling times, in the event you need to reschedule due to extenuating circumstances, you can for no fee.  It’s our pleasure to report that from June – September 2020, over 40 people travelled to HC Hospital just for a consultation. In addition, our coordinators are better-equipped to advise patients accurately on current travel policy from official sources thanks to the “FT Travel Watch monitoring covid regulations in 47 countries since August 2020.

A message from Facialteam

Once again, we wish to express our heartfelt appreciation to our patients for being the inspiration which drives to continue putting forward our best selves as professionals and human beings. 

Now more than ever, those role models of perseverance, resilience, and who are in many ways valiant,  are the people who have taught us to confront this new world with optimism.  With this COVID-Safe protocol, our intention is to be prepared, inform patients and ultimately transmit tranquility that we are doing everything possible to ensure your safety.

For current updates, read our original COVID Advisory announcement here.

Patient Relations Manager Lilia Koss, presentator of Lilia's Livestreams
About the author

Hello world! I’m Lilia Koss and I use she, her, and they pronouns. What are yours? With a background in humanities and diverse professional experiences, I have been working with the Facialteam founders and directors since 2008. Involved from the ground up, so I’ve had hands in many pots: patient coordination, orientation events on 3 continents, social media, written and audiovisual content about our gender-affirming healthcare...but now life is more defined. Lately, I focus my energies on Public Relations, community management and live streaming to help raise the visibility of trans health. Life is pretty complete.