To our valued patients
In the face of the COVID-19 situation, we are monitoring day to day events and making changes to the way we operate in order to minimise the risks for all concerned.
At the moment we would like to address the following issues:
- Circumstances where we won’t provide in-clinic care.
- The Patient Journey when we do provide in-clinic care.
- Telehealth treatment available as an alternative.
- Home workstation evaluation and advice.
- Closing the clinic.
Circumstances where we won’t provide in-clinic care include:
- Anyone with symptoms of COVID19 – fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath, body aches, fatigue.
- Anyone who has arrived from overseas, off a cruise ship, or from NSW or Victoria in the last 14 days.
- Anyone in close contact with a confirmed COVID19 patient.
- Staff from Public Hospitals.
When you do attend in-clinic treatment, the Patient Journey during the COVID19 era has been updated to look like this:
- Front door open so no need to touch handle, plus fresh air circulating.
- Wait outside or in your car if you wish.
- Wash hands with soap or use Sanitiser and rub hands thoroughly for 20 seconds on arrival.
- Move straight to treatment room or wait in another room to maintain separation at the front desk area.
- Use toilet at home before coming to avoid contamination in shared block toilet
- Mostly using uncovered bed. Single use of linen or paper disposable bed sheet.
- Face cushion used on request.
- Purifas face protectors being used: non-absorbent soft plastic material and they extend through the face hole for additional protection.
- Hands-on treatment as usual, or not by request. Individual massage cream containers washed between use.
- Disposable latex-free gloves may be worn for some treatments.
- Staff hand-wash thoroughly between each patient contact.
- Surfaces wiped down with Milton Hospital-grade disinfectant (anti-viral protection) between each patient – including front desk, treatment bed, chairs, exercise equipment. Glen 20 spray also used.
- Air purifier running 24/7.
- Prefer payment via cards to reduce cash handling.
- Wash hands or use Sanitiser again for 20 seconds on departure.
We have analysed the software options available to us to continue to provide physiotherapy services without close person to person contact, and in the event that our clinic is closed. Commonly used video platforms such as Skype and Facetime are not considered secure enough for medical consultations.
Our interest is in software like Coviu and Physitrack (which offers telehealth plus video exercise prescription and outcome monitoring). We are setting these up and intend to be able to offer telehealth
consultations this week. Our Practice Management Software, Cliniko, is also working on a Telehealth application to be available soon.
Of course, Telehealth won’t be suitable in some circumstances, but research shows it to be an extremely effective form of therapeutic intervention, especially when conducted by an experienced practitioner. The patient has more responsibility for self-management through exercises, self-massage, ‘mobilization with movement’, and lifestyle adjustments. Improvements in outcome can also be gained by increasing the regularity of shorter contacts between patient and therapist via the telehealth portals.
Prior to COVID19, one issue that has held back the uptake of Telehealth in Physio has been the reluctance of Private Health Insurers, Workcover, CTP insurers, DVA, and Medicare to provide rebates for these consultations. We are assured that our Australian Physiotherapy Association has been in discussions with these organisations over the past couple of weeks and the COVID19 situation may prove a catalyst for change in the coming weeks.
Home workstation evaluation and advice.
We have noted that most of our office worker patients have now started working from home. One concern we have is that many people do not have an appropriate workstation or ergonomic set-up at home, and this will lead to an increase in neck, shoulder and back pain. The Telehealth applications are perfectly suited to us being able to assess your home workstation and offer recommendations to best prevent these painful conditions. Ideally there will be a second person present to hold your phone or tablet so we can view you sitting in your position. You may find your employer happy to contribute to the cost, as a means of preventing a Workcover claim. Please call us to arrange a suitable time to conduct this consultation.
Closing the clinic.
At this time the Federal Government prefers that allied health services remain open, as closures would result in a higher number of GP and Emergency Department visits when they least need it. Unfortunately we are not provided with any government-funded PPE to protect ourselves and hence we are sourcing (scavenging) our own supplies of sanitiser, hand wash, cleaning agents and disposable hygiene products. As a private business we may decide to close if we become uncomfortable with the risk of an unknowingly positive COVID19 case coming to see us, infecting our staff, and forcing closure for a period of time. As mentioned previously, we will be able to maintain a Telehealth consultation service if the clinic is closed.
We thank you for your ongoing support at this difficult time. If you have any questions please feel free to call or email us.