Temperature checks, health screening, shorter appointments and increased cleaning are some of the new measures that have allowed the Dalhousie Physiotherapy Clinic to carry out a safe and successful return to in-person service.
The clinic re-opened for treatments more than a month ago on June 10, making it one of the first services on campus to relaunch after an extended shutdown due to COVID-19 precautions.
Leading up to the re-opening, the clinic created an extensive safety protocol that follows requirements set out by the Nova Scotia College of Physiotherapists. The clinic was then cleared for re-opening by both the Chief Medical Officer of Nova Scotia as well as Dalhousie.
“As a result of these new protocols, visits to the clinic look a lot different than they did previously,” says Rhonda Reardon, manager of the clinic.
Currently, patients are screened the day prior to appointments and then again in person before an appointment by with a list of questions and a temperature check. Screenings are administered by therapy assistants, who also serve as escorts for patients, leading them through the old entrance at Dalplex to the clinic downstairs.
Appointments are currently one-on-one with a 30-minute time limit, but that could change if public health guidelines loosen. Both therapists and patients are currently required to wear masks. The clinic space itself has been rearranged to allow for physical distancing of two metres between patients and the number of therapists working at a time has also been decreased for the same reason.
The clinic has increased cleaning efforts to sanitize all surfaces and any equipment touched by patients at the end of each appointment. High touch areas and surfaces are cleaned several times throughout operational hours, and in the evening upon closure of the clinic.
Choosing priorities in treatment
Dry-needling, acupuncture, ultrasound and interferential current therapy are available, but their application is dependent on the patient and therapist’s priorities for the use of their time in clinic and used appropriately depending on the needs of each individual patient.
For those patients not yet ready to return to in-person treatment, the clinic continues to offer telehealth video appointments — a service launched during the closure earlier this year. However, physiotherapists are now able to provide that in-person patient care that enables them to complete assessment and treatment that will provide the best possible outcome for each patient, says Reardon.
Safety protocols will be adapted as needed and remain in place until the university, provincial public health officials and the Nova Scotia College of Physiotherapists say they are no longer needed.
“The ultimate goal of our clinic team is to continue to provide the highest quality care for each individual patient,” says Reardon. “These extensive measures help ensure that all of our staff and patients are able to remain safe and secure during these challenging times. We look forward to seeing you again.”
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