COVID-19 Protocol for in-person sessions:
The protocol main goal is to provide the safest environment and decrease potential exposure to COVID-19 for both the patient and the therapist.
Patients participation is essential for the protocol to work. Each patient must be familiar with this protocol prior to coming to the clinic.
Note that in-person sessions are considered when the therapist needs to use their hands on the patient, or to be in close proximity to the patient to do a proper visual assessment. We continue to offer online sessions to cover education, exercises and teach self-release techniques.
What to know before the in-person session:
A quick check, online or by phone, of less than 15 minutes, is scheduled before in-person session. Ideally, it will be done a day or two prior to the patient appointment at the clinic. Essentially, this is the time when the client updates the therapist about their situation and discuss their goal(s) for the session. This check will allow the therapist to type in the initial intake and better prepare for the session. This is to help your therapist minimize the use of the computer during the in-person session. This step should also make the in-person session shorter, so minimize the time we need to be in-person. The fees for the quick check is included into the in-person session.
Prior to their appointment, each patient has to:
- complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire
- accept to follow the protocol (explained in this document)
- recognize possible COVID-19 exposure associated with in-person session at the clinic.
Possible exposure refers to the fact that some carriers of COVID-19 are asymptomatic; meaning they have COVID-19, but do not experience any symptoms, and also that we are working in a centre with other professionals and their clients. We are striving to work in collaboration with other professionals of the centre, but do not have control over the coming and going of others, including their clients and their actions, use of the facility and if they follow social distancing. With our protocol and our patient’s efforts, we can minimize exposure to COVID-19, but we cannot eliminate all risks.
During the in-person sessions, it is also important to recognize that your therapist will work with their hands on your body, therefore, they will be closer than the recommended 2-meter for social distancing. For this reason, both therapist and the patient will be wearing a mask and washing hands prior and after each session.
The COVID-19 questionnaire, protocol review and potential exposure to COVID-19 review are emailed, as one form/ one email, to patients, 24 hours prior to them in-person appointment. It is emailed by Jane; our online app for booking, charting and payment. Once the form is completed, it is automatically saved into the client file in Jane.
- Therapists will also screen themselves for symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 prior to seeing clients in person.
- Both the patients and the therapists must stay home and not come to the clinic if they experience COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to a person who has a diagnosis of COVID-19 or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, without a diagnosis, in the last 14 days. It is law to self-isolate if a person is experiencing symptoms or has travelled outside the country, in the last 14 days.
- Patients and therapists can change the in-person appointment to online, at any time, prior to the start of the treatment without any penalties.
- Patient or therapist can cancel the in-person appointment, without any penalties, if they become sick or experience symptoms related to COVID-19.
- Cancellation fees; 50% of full session fee, continue to apply for no-shows or cancellations not related to COVID-19, received within 48-hrs of the scheduled appointment time.
What to know for the time at the clinic for the in-person appointment:
- Before heading to the appointment, patients must insure they are feeling well, that their situation has not changed since they have filled the COVID-19 screening questionnaire. They also must have a scheduled appointment and be expected by their therapist, at the clinic.
- Patients are encouraged to use the washroom at home, prior to coming to the clinic. Washrooms are available at the Mountaineers Business Centre, for patients to use. However, they have to be cleaned after each use. In addition, there are other business and their clients accessing the washrooms, so we are trying to keep their use to a minimum.
- Patients are asked to come alone to their appointment. Exceptions will be made for mothers with babies or a child appointment. Please do not bring siblings or children. Please notify the therapist in advance if you will have someone else with you.
- Patients only bring essential items into the clinic. Pease leave belongings at home or in the car. If possible, patients also consider leaving their cell phone in the car, that is once you have communicated with your therapist and they are ready to take you in.
- Once onsite, patients must contact their therapist first, from their car. The method of contact, i.e. email, phone, text, will be agreed between the therapist and the patient during the Quick Check time, prior to the session.
- Patient wait outside the door of the clinic for their therapist to come and get them.
- Patients wear a clean mask before entering the Mountaineers Business Centre. The mask can be cloth or disposable. The mask is worn for the duration of their appointment, until they leave the building.
- Therapist wears a medical grade mask for the duration of the session and when they meet the patient outside.
- Therapist will open the door for the patient.
- Both the therapist and patient will go to the sink to wash or sanitize their hands before and after the session.
- If patients need to undress for the session, a plastic bin is provided to put their clothes in. The therapist will clean the bins between clients.
- During the session, if the patient starts feeling unwell/sick or becomes uncomfortable with wearing a mask or having the therapist in close proximity, they are responsible to communicate it to their therapist as soon as possible. Sessions can be stopped, at any point, for these reasons, with no penalties.
- Therapist will clean and sanitize the office; the areas touched by a patient, after each patient.
- Payment is touchless, using credit cards, through Jane; our online system.
- Future bookings will be discussed prior to the session, during the quick check time (on the phone or online), or by email, after the session.
- During their time at the clinic, patients are asked to follow social distancing (keeping 2-meter distance) while waiting outside for their appointment, or, when in the centre with other professionals or clients of the Mountaineers Business Centre.
- After reading this protocol, if the patient still has questions, they are to contact their therapist, prior to them in-person session to get answers to their questions.
We welcome patient’s suggestion and feedback to improve the process or if clarifications to these steps are needed. This is a new process for both patients and therapists. The key will be to slow down, be present and remember that behind our masks, we are the same humans. Let’s make sure we look at each others eyes and understand each other, work together, to make these sessions possible and beneficial for both.
June 17, 2020
Anne-Marie Fafard, PT & Osteopathy Manual Therapist & Janine Mak, PT & Clinical Pilates Instructor