Physical Therapists are allowed to resume ‘in-person’ visits
- As of May 19th, 2020, the BC Ministry of Health & Public Health Officer have collaborated with our Professional College to allow in-person physiotherapy to resume within the community (Reference: Provincial Health Offier's May 15, 2020 Update)
- PhysioCare At Home’s COVID-19 Safety Plan & Guidelines for BC have been provided below
- All related questions or concerns can be directed to Jillian Bergman Stow (email@example.com)
COVID-19 Safety Plan (for the duration of COVID-19 pandemic)
In efforts to prevent spread of COVID-19 during in-person physiotherapy visits, PhysioCare at Home is committed to providing guidance to each of our Therapists in the following areas (as outlined in BC Centre for Disease Control's Guidelines for Health Care Providers in Clinics)
1. Public Health Measures
- If a Therapist exhibits any cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, they are to remain home & not perform any in-person client visits
- If a Therapist has travelled outside the country, they are advised to self-quarantine x 2 weeks before resuming in-person care
- Pre-screening for every client visit: the Therapist will call the client/caregiver the morning of the scheduled visit to ask screening questions:
- Are you or anyone in your household experiencing symptoms of a cough (new or worsening), fever, runny nose, sneezing, vomiting or diarrhea, sore throat, nausea?
- Have you been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19? If the client/caregiver/family member answers ‘yes’ to any questions, the in-person visit is to be rescheduled. * If the client cannot be reached via phone, the Therapist can ask the Screening Questions at a 2-meter distance from the client/caregiver at the commence of the in-person visit.
2. Environmental Measures
- When possible, the Therapist is encouraged to maintain a 2 meter physical distance between themselves and the client (and all other caregivers/family members) during in-person care. Dependent on the client’s functional status, the Therapist will use their discretion & clinical judgement to determine when the client requires care at a closer distance (I.e. for safety during balance or mobilizing activities, hands-on therapy, etc.)
- When possible (I.e. client tolerated and space & weather permitting), the Therapist is encouraged to provide physiotherapy care to the client in an outdoor space during their session, either in part or whole (I.e. outdoor exercises on the patio or backyard or an outdoor walk, etc.)
- At this time, sharing of equipment between clients is highly discouraged. But if it is required (I.e. a walker or transfer belt), then proper & frequent cleaning & disinfecting is advised (Use common, commercially-available detergents and disinfectant products and closely follow the instructions on the label.)
- It is advisable for the Therapist to limit equipment & items they bring in to the client’s home during the visit and anything brought in to the home should be cleaned/disinfected after exiting the home. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day. These include medical equipment, telephones, keyboards, mice, pens, charts, cell phones, etc.
3. Administrative Measures
- Virtual ‘online’ visits are an effective adjunct to in-person care, if the client’s condition allows and they have access to technology and internet. Therapists are encouraged to continue or commence ‘online’ physiotherapy visits as appropriate. In efforts to provide quality physiotherapy services yet limit in-person care, a hybrid model of care is also advisable when appropriate. For example, a client may be seen in-person once a week as well as seen virtually online once a week to supplement their care. This option is available but is to be utilized at the discretion/clinical judgement of each individual Therapist.
4. Personal Measures
- Frequent Hand Washing (preferred over sanitizer)/hand hygiene is advised for each Therapist before, during (as required) & after every client interaction/session.
- It is recommended that each client exercise frequent hand hygiene, washing or sanitizing before, during & after every Therapist interaction/session, and refrain from touching their face.
- If a Therapist or a client needs to cough or sneeze, it is advised to practice coughing into one’s elbow or covering one’s mouth/nose with a tissue and washing hands afterwards.
- If the Therapist or the client is sick with the common cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, they will call the office or directly call the Therapist/client to cancel the in-person visit and reschedule after 10 days from the onset of symptoms AND until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer. There will not be any cancellation charges if the client calls to cancel an appointment due to sickness.
5. PPE Measures
- At this time, all Therapists are advised to wear a mask during in-person client care, when closer than 2 meters in distance from the client.
- Additional PPE measures including wearing gloves, eye protection and gowns/scrubs is at the discretion of each individual Therapist.
- Although it is not required, if a client would like to wear a mask (I.e. reuseable/washable) during the physiotherapy visit, they are welcome to wear one.
- Proper donning & doffing of PPE is required: I.e.Hand washing/sanitizing before and after donning & doffing masks/gloves, and refrain from touching face/mask, etc.
- COVID-19: Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Community-Based Allied Health Care Providers in Clinic Settings May 15, 2020, posted by BC’s Ministry of Health on bccdc.ca
- Order of the PHO: Workplace COVID-19 Safety Plans
- May 15th, 2020 Update from PHO
- CPTBC Phase 2 Restart Plan Guidelines
- CPTBC Guidance for PTs wrt COVID-19
- WorkSafe BC information on masks