As Ontario continues with its cautious economic reboot, healthcare providers across the province are excited to be back in business. The Ford government has announced that dozens of practitioners, including physiotherapists and chiropractors, are now allowed to reopen.
As healthcare workers reconnect with their patients, physical distancing will be top priority. Here are some of the safety measures you can expect as clinics open their doors for in-person services.
1) Stop-and-wait policy
Gone are the days when you could just breeze through the front doors, at least for now. Most clinics are implementing a ‘stop-and-wait’ policy to ensure distancing requirements are met. This likely means you’ll have to walk inside cautiously, and wait for a staff member to greet you.
Patients can also expect:
- Circles on the floor indicating where to stand
- Plexiglas shields installed at reception desks
- Waiting room seats spaced out
- Lineups to restrict the number of patients inside
Many grocery stores and retail shops have been operating under these same guidelines. When visiting a healthcare setting, the key is to wait your turn and keep interactions to a minimum.
2) Mandatory questionnaire
If you want service, you’ll have to fill out a survey. Most practitioners will want to know whether you’ve travelled out of the country or have flu-like symptoms. It’s important to be honest as we all have a responsibility to protect our fellow citizens.
Community transmission is a serious concern. Ontario, for example, is pushing back its date to expand social gatherings as the province sees a spike in cases of COVID-19. The Premier has said reopening initiatives will be scaled back if the province continues on this path. The best way to ensure your physiotherapist or massage therapist continues to operate is by doing your part.
There are mixed reviews on the effectiveness of masks. But Canada’s top doctor says non-surgical masks can help stop the spread of COVID-19. That’s why more people are wearing them while out for walks, visiting the grocery store, and taking public transit.
Many clinics are making masks mandatory for staff and patients. Before heading to your appointment, purchase a pack of disposables online or try out a DIY version instead. Just make sure your hands are clean before putting it on. For extra protection, wear gloves to avoid bacterial transfer.
4) No wandering allowed
Pre-pandemic, your massage therapist may have let you relax in the clinic lounge. Or maybe your chiropractor let you use the bathroom in the back. That kind of access and flexibility will be rare going forward.
As more businesses reopen, employees will try to stay diligent about disinfecting. That’s why practitioners will try to limit access to certain areas, and keep track of clinic activity. Under new safety protocols, patients will be asked to stay with a staff member at all times. And only with permission will you be allowed to wander out of sight.
5) Physical contact only when necessary
Some healthcare providers may not be comfortable with physical contact during patient sessions. So unless you’re booked for hands-on services like a massage, expect a lot less contact. Although masks and gloves can greatly reduce the chance of infection, COVID-19 can still spread through droplets elsewhere.
If you are in physical contact with your practitioner, keep your hands away from your face. Bacteria from dirty surfaces can transfer to your hands, then enter your body through the eyes, nose or mouth. Public health officials say the best way to avoid COVID-19 is to stop face-touching altogether.
Healthier Starts Here
At Physiomed, we’re relying on the advice of regulatory colleges to guide our safety protocols. Because the country remains in a state of pandemic, our clinics won’t be ‘business as usual’ for quite some time. But, patients can still expect the high level of service Physiomed has come to represent.
And of course -- if you still prefer virtual visits, we continue to offer online care. Simply book an appointment on our website, and have confidence knowing our practitioners are still just a click away.
For more information or to schedule an in-person session, please contact us here.