Changes to Protocol
With the emergence of COVID-19 clinical practice has seen some changes for Allied Heath Professionals. At present Osteopaths are able to treat patient's in a face-to-face consultation but the contact time must be kept to a minimum and the patient must be triaged by phone or video consultation prior to an appointment being offered.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
There has been a change our dress code as well. We are now required to wear Personal Protective Equipment during any face-to-face consultation. This includes a visor over the face or safety glasses, a moisture resistant surgical mask, protective gloves and plastic apron. This is a requirement and not a personal choice issue and although this may seem daunting it is as much for the reduction of possible transmission of COVID-19 to patients as it is to protect the practitioner. The moisture resistant mask, gloves and apron will be disposed of after each patient and the visor or safety goggles cleaned with appropriate antibacterial and antiviral solution.
Airconditioning and Ventilation
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that at present that the use of recirculation ventilation or airconditioning units is not advised as this may allow any COVID-19 air particles possibly present to remain airbourne for longer thereby increasing the chance of infection. They also recommend that the clinical room is ventilated for 20 minutes between patients. Therefore there will be a mandatory break between patients.
The close contact required for some hands on treatment means that patients will be required to wear a moisture resistant mask and non-latex gloves whilst in the clinic, which will be provided.
Social Distancing of 2 meters is still in force throughout England with allowance of 1 meter if wearing a mask. The Government guidance still advocate a 2 meter distance where possible and so we request this is respected to continue to protect our patients whilst in the clinical environment. With this in mind we are asking that at present you wait in your car until 5 mins before your appointment to avoid waiting outside the clinic, as access will be on a patient by patient basis.
Advise from the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC - regulatory body) and Institute of Osteopathy (iO) is still to only offer Face-to-Face consultations in clinic to those who will benefit from it. Initial screening for COVID-19 related symptoms and suitability for a clinical visit should take place by phone or video call. World Health Organisation regulations state that it is recommended that rooms are ventilated for 20 minutes between patients and this had led to us implementing changes to process of our consultations. We have considered our options with a view to the new safety procedures and the impact on our business with a need to provide the same level of service. We have decided that the clinic consultation timings will remain at present at 40 min for New Patient's and 30 min for Follow-up Patients. The changes imposed on medical professionals such as osteopaths due to COVID-19, has mean that there has been an increase in costs which we have been unable to absorb and so there has been a slight increase in prices.
Treatment Room Changes
To avoid transmission through contact all plinth linen has been removed. The pillow cases will be waterproof and wipeable plastic. There will be one plastic chair in the room and the flooring is a non slip vinyl. There will be one widow open during the consultation to aid with fresh air ventilation.
Patient Hand Washing
To minimise risk the patient may be asked to wash their hands for 20 seconds upon first entering the clinic room and this may be watched by the practitioner to aid with correct hand washing procedure. If the patient is asked to wear non-latex gloves when met at the door then the patient will not be required to wash their hands but must only take the gloves off when exiting the clinic.