Minimising risk of COVID-19 in clinic

COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives and for a long time, I considered it too risky treating people face to face. But following guidance by the General Osteopathic Council, the Institute of Osteopathy and Public Health England, I am delighted to announce that I’ve been back treating people face to face since May 2020!

Of course, a number of changes have been made to minimise risk and keep you and I as safe as possible. However, there is no way of eliminating risk entirely so please do consider this when booking your appointment. Here are the steps I have taken to keep us as safe as possible.


LOCATION

Since gyms have been reopened, I’ve been so pleased to be seeing patients at my clinic at Kings Gym, Croydon again! With all the PPE and cleaning changes, I’m doing all I can to keep you as safe as possible, as are the great team at Kings Gym! Please note, I am currently unable to treat anyone without a pre-booked appointment, so no walk in appointments are available at this time. This is to allow time to pre-screen you before your appointment.  

Having spoken to a few people who are concerned about going to crowded places such as gyms, I’m also pleased to confirm that I’ll be continuing to treat from my temporary clinic on one day each week. Of course, Kings Gym is my home so as standard, I’ll offer you an appointment here first. But if you’d rather be seen at my temporary clinic in Purley, please do let me know at time of booking your appointment. 

WHO I CAN AND CAN NOT TREAT

Strict guidelines have been set regarding who osteopaths can and can not treat (for now). We are absolutely not able to treat anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 until they have received two negative COVID-19 tests (lateral flow test or PCR test) on two consecutive days (whether you have symptoms or not), or ten full days after their first COVID-19 symptom/positive COVID-19 test.

For those of you not suffering with symptoms of COVID-19, we are very likely to be able to treat you but will assess each situation on an individual basis. The risks of face to face appointments will be discussed with you prior to booking your appointment.

Shielding has now been stopped for everyone. However, for those who are medically vulnerable (moderate or high risk), I still recommend gaining advice from your GP or consultant to discuss how to make your trip out of the house as safe as possible. Where possible, I also recommend for you to be seen in my first appointment slot of the day, to further minimise risk. You are considered high risk if any of the following applies to you:

  • Anyone who has had an organ replacement
  • Anyone undergoing treatment for cancer including radiotherapy, chemotherapy or stem cell therapy
  • Anyone with blood or bone based cancers
  • Anyone with a serious respiratory condition such as COPD, cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
  • Anyone who is taking immunosuppressant medication
  • Anyone who is pregnant AND has heart disease
  • Anyone who has a condition which makes them more likely to pick up infections such as sickle cell anaemia or those on high doses of steroids
  • Any adults with Down’s syndrome
  • Anyone having dialysis or stage 5 chronic kidney disease

The following groups of people are considered moderate risk:

  • Those who are 70 years old and over
  • Those with lung conditions such as asthma and bronchitis
  • Those with heart disease
  • Those with diabetes (both type one and two)
  • Those with chronic kidney disease
  • Those with liver disease including hepatitis
  • Those with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons or motor neurone disease
  • Those taking medications that affect your immune system such as steroids
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with a BMI over 40

Due to the airborne nature of COVID-19 transmission, please consider whether or not you need hands on treatment at this time. Face to face appointments carry an element of COVID-19 infection risk to us all so please only book an appointment if you need it. Please also be aware that even if you do not fall into the above categories, being able to treat you face to face will still depend on the information you provide to pre-screening questions. I would love to treat everyone who needs relief but we do have to be safe too.

HOW APPOINTMENTS ARE BOOKED

To minimise risk and keep you as safe as possible, here is the new procedure for booking and attending appointments:

RISK ASSESSMENT

In anticipation of returning to clinic, I completed comprehensive risk assessments for both clinic based and home visit appointments, copies of which are available here:

In summary:

  • We have been advised there is no need to wear gloves nor a plastic apron during treatment now. Of course, if you feel happier with us wearing these, we are happy to do so. Surgical masks continue to be mandatory
  • Surgical mask is to be changed every four hours
  • I will be washing my hands before and after every treatment for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and running water, as well as hourly when not with patients
  • All hard surfaces will be cleaned between appointments, including the treatment couch, chairs, stationary, side boards, cleaning facilities, pillow cases and floors (treatment couch and associated equipment only before and after treatment for home visits)
  • The treatment room will be aerated between each appointment for a minimum of 15 minutes
  • Every patient will be asked to sanitise their hands with sanitiser provided on entering the clinic
  • Chairs will be located two metres apart where possible
  • All patients are triaged and pre-screened at initial contact and the day before their appointment to minimise the risk of people attending appointments who are symptomatic or asymptomatic carriers
  • Those who are moderate or high risk will be recommended to be seen as the first appointment of the day

While there is no way of guaranteeing, these measures will help to keep you and I as safe as possible. I hope you understand.

A common question is if you need to wear a mask to come in for treatment. In line with government guidance, I am asking patients (and chaperones if applicable) to wear a mask or face covering throughout their appointment if you are able to do so. If you are medically exempt and unable to wear a mask, I will undertake further enhanced protection by wearing a visor, which you are welcome to do too. This guidance will continue after the 24th February, with healthcare settings still requiring patients to wear a face covering or mask.

On arrival to the clinic, I will ask you wait outside until your appointment time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible so as not to come into contact with any other patients and to minimise waiting. As above, please sanitise you hands on arrival at the clinic. Please do not be offended, this is simply to keep the clinic and treatment room clean.


I appreciate that is a lot of information to take in so please do get in touch with any questions you may have. As I say, face to face contact can carry risks but I am so pleased to be able to help you hands on again. For anyone who is still concerned about or is unable to have hands on treatment at the moment, do not despair – I am still running virtual consultations! These online sessions are working really well and have kept so many of you out of pain through lockdown. You’ve worked very hard to keep up with your exercises so well done to you all!

Should you wish to book an appointment, please call me on 07840130294, email me at info@ljosteopathy.co.uk or send me a message at www.instagram.com/ljosteopathy or www.facebook.com/LaurenJardineOsteopathy/. For those of you who don’t know, my Instagram page is full of exercises, stretches and tips to help to keep your pain at bay so head over there for some free guidance and information. It is a worrying time for us all but at least I can help with any aches, pains or injuries you may have (and a chat of course!).

Guidance is changing sometimes weekly so I will be in touch with any updates. In the meantime, stay safe, keep well and get in touch to book your appointment!

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