It's a Process
The Day has come. It's time to start seeing patients again. Below will be a detailed layout of how processes have changed to enable me to treat you in a way that is safe for everyone involved. It's a complicated process, so bear with me. Just focus on the fact that doors will be opening and your aches and pains will be seen to.
Before I go into explaining the new processes, I want to make one thing clear. If you are experiencing Covid-like symptoms, please do not come for treatment until those symptoms have stopped for 7 days. Any contact with a patient suffering from Covid will likely lead to me needing to shut the doors of my practice for 14 days. I can appreciate that you may be in pain. But don't ruin this for everyone else who is suffering. I'll still be here to fix you once your symptoms have stopped.
So, to begin:
The practice has been cleared of all clutter. This is to limit all pathogen carrying vectors.
Couch covers and towels have been removed for the same reason.
Traditional pillow covers have been replaced with wipe-able plastic pillow covers so that they can be cleaned in between patients.
Areas that are more difficult to clean have been covered in plastic to facilitate the cleaning process.
To limit the chance of transmission, only the Osteopath and the patient are allowed in the room. If you MUST have someone else in the room, please contact me so that we can discuss how to resolve this issue.
Finally, to reduce the chance of transmission, patients will be treated while in their clothes.
The above changes have made the practice easier to clean at the expense of the warm and fuzzy chaos by which I usually try and live my life. It's a little bit sad. I'll miss the pictures I hung up from my younger patients. I've had to remove the varying presents that patients have brought to me over the years. It makes me sad, but I haven't forgotten you. And it should make it easier to keep you safe.
So the scene is set. But now we have to manage the flow. Too many patients in too short of a period of time will increase the risk of passing a virus between ourselves. To control the flow, for the time being, the following measures are in place:
Our waiting room is currently not open. If you are coming to your appointment in a car, please wait in your car and send me a text to my work number. I will come and get you, taking you in through the back door so that you only have to be in one room during your visit.
While it means I can't see as many patients as before, I have implemented a 20 min break between patients. This gives me time to clean between appointments. It also keeps you from bumping into one another.
The rest of the practice is off-limits. Please remember to use the bathroom before leaving for your appointment. We still follow cleaning protocols for the remainder of the practice. But places like the bathroom are notoriously difficult for people to navigate without leaving/picking up bacteria and viruses. In extreme cases, the bathroom may be made available but it's best if you use the facilities at your home.
Unfortunately, these restrictions mean that we will be seeing a LOT fewer patients than we normally would. For the time being, this means it's not financially viable to run a card machine. Please bring the exact fee for your appointment in an envelope. No change will be made available to limit cross-contamination through bills and change.
Appointments are being stream-lined so that patients spend less time in the same room with myself. This unfortunately means that I won't get to chat like I normally do. It's not that I don't like talking with you. The less time we spend with one another, the less chance there is of passing a virus between us if one of us is asymptomatic.
In the name of stream-lining appointments, the Case History portion of a New Patient appointment will be done the evening before by phone. This limits the amount of time we spend in person while still enabling me to take a safe and valid case history. It also serves as a check the night before to make sure that you're not experiencing any Covid-like symptoms.
It's the very nature of osteopathic treatment that we get up close and personal to help you get rid of your aches and pains. Which means it's hard to get (socially acceptable) distance between yourself and I during treatment. But in every instance where it is possible, we will distance ourselves. For both your and my safety.
Now it's time to talk about the Personal Protective measures that will be in place. These measures are as recommended by Public Health England/Scotland, GOsC (the osteopathic registering body), and the Government.
All surfaces will be wiped down with a medical-grade cleaner before and after appointments.
I will be wearing a medical-grade face mask, gloves, and a disposable, plastic apron.
You will need to wear a mask. If you have one that you already use, then please bring that. In the case that you don’t have a face mask, one will be made available to you.
I have undertaken training on how to appropriately use and dispose of the above PPE.
Hand washing will be extensive and frequent. Sanitizer gel will be made available for your use.
Beyond the above-recommended safety measures, I have also sourced laboratory-grade sterilizing equipment. Normally I would use this equipment at the end of the day to prepare the practice for the following day of work. With today's heightened concerns, it will be used in between patients to ensure the greatest level of protection from bacteria and viruses.
Now despite my best efforts, I’m certain there will be hiccups in this process of returning to normal. Please be patient with me. And if you have any constructive feedback, please let me know. I’m always willing to improve and we’re trying to lower the risk of contracting Covid to as close to nil as possible.
~Gavin the pesky Osteopath
p.s. My hair may or may not be perfectly coifed. Feel free to make fun of me. I benefit from occasionally being rendered more humble.
p.s.s. As of the writing of the post, this was the latest information available as to how to proceed. Things are changing very quickly and this information may quickly be superceded.
p.s.s.s. If you find that you have contracted the Corona Virus. Please phone me retroactively, so that we can see if the chain of contact has spread.