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 am now back to treating people face to face! As essential healthcare workers, Osteopaths can remain open during the second national lockdown, although due to gym closures, I have returned to my temporary clinic until December 2nd.
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.
With gyms currently closed, I have returned to the temporary location I used during the first lockdown. The temporary clinic is in Purley, roughly five minutes by car from Kings Gym. Full details will be provided at time of booking but there is plenty of parking available as well as being accessible by public transport. All of the protocols to keep you as safe as possible are still in place, details of which you will find below.
If this option is not appropriate for you, I may temporarily be able to see you in your own home. This in itself carries its own risks and will be discussed at length before we book your appointment in.
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 for fourteen days from their test (whether you have symptoms or not), nor are we able to treat those with COVID-19 symptoms until they are asymptomatic for fourteen days after their first symptom.
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, 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:
In anticipation of returning to clinic, I have completed comprehensive risk assessments for both clinic based and home visit appointments, copies of which are available here:
- I will be wearing gloves, a plastic apron and a surgical mask when treating all Osteopathy patients, which will be changed between each appointment (mask 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 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 wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and running water when they enter the treatment room
- Chairs will be located two metres apart where possible (if two metre distance is not possible with home visits, masks or face coverings are requested to be worn)
- 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.
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 wash your hands with soap and running water for a minimum of 20 seconds 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 daily so I will be in touch with any updates. In the meantime, stay safe, keep well and get in touch to book your appointment!