PHYSICAL THERAPY SAFETY DURING COVID-19
Tid Bits of Info
- Wash your hands numerous times per day for 20 seconds with soap and water and help to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol will kill the virus.
- Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue and throw it away.
- Social separation has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the virus.
- Every challenge brings opportunity!
We’ve temporarily altered our daily rhythms as a result of Covid -19, and we may end up making long-term life changes as well. Though many businesses have been temporarily closed, Physical Therapy is considered an essential service and each center has the option to continue serving patients. Our services can keep patients healthier, while reducing visits to the doctor, the emergency room, and possibly the operating room. Our open centers have implemented targeted Physical Therapy safety protocols that will protect both patients and healthcare givers.
Physical Therapy Safety Measures:
Screening: Special emphasis has been placed on screening patients and staff before they get to the center. During the check-in process and initial interview with the Physical Therapist certain screening questions are presented to the patient. The most common questions asked are:
- Do you have symptoms that are associated with Covid-19 such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing?
- Have you traveled to or returned from countries that the CDC has labeled travel warning in the past 14 days?
- Have you been in close contact with someone that has been positively diagnosed Covid-19 coronavirus?
- Are you a high-risk patient? (defined by the CDC as: older patients, 60 years of age or older or with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes or lung disease)
In the rare event that someone who has decided to come to Physical Therapy answers “yes” to any of the above questions, they are rescheduled and instructed to contact their general practitioner prior to coming to their Physical Therapy appointment.
Limit number of patients: Physical Therapy centers have complied with the Federal mandate to limit gathering to 10 people or less. The number of patients and staff is kept to 10 or less at all times which provides adequate space for proper social distancing and enables the patient to receive the highest quality of care.
Frequent cleaning: Physical Therapy centers, like most healthcare facilities, are well maintained and kept sanitary at all times. In a time like this, which has never happened before in most of the population’s lives, extra care is taken to maintain a sanitized environment. Some of the measures being taken are as follows:
- Sanitize all equipment numerous times per day with CDC approved cleaning agents that will kill the virus.
- Implement hand washing programs that require patients and staff to wash their hands for 20 seconds or more with soap and water.
- Hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol or more is available, but in most centers the supply is limited.
- Spread the equipment out so proper social distancing can occur.
- Spread out the patients as they are treated to allow for proper social distancing.
- Provide tissue in many areas for patients and staff to use to cover a cough or sneeze. The tissue is discarded in the trash.
Telehealth: Many Physical Therapy companies are exploring the use of telehealth, which enables the therapist to communicate with the patients via the internet or phone. This is fairly new and limited in Physical Therapy, but if the patient is unable to get to the center or if they have symptoms and have to be quarantined for 2 weeks, they can continue to receive modified physical therapy treatment.
Covid-19 has changed the world forever, but it should not stop us totally in our tracks. We have to respect it and maintain proper Physical Therapy safety measures. If you fail to follow through with your Physical Therapy treatment, the complications that will most likely arise will make your life a challenge. Stay Safe!