I’m a planner. I like to be prepared & know what’s coming. Having my kids has helped with relaxing those needs. Having kids & running a small business in the midst of a pandemic has blown it out of the water. You can plan all you want but prepare for your plans to change & have the ability to pivot on a dime!
I was surprised at my gut reaction a few weeks ago when the governor of Virginia announced a potential partial opening starting May 8 (April 38th for those of you who might not realize it’s now May!) I didn’t feel elation or relief. I felt somewhat disappointed. Here I was finally settling down into this whole stay-at-home thing & it was time to change it again. With friends opening back up in limited ways across the country, I felt similar pressure to when I decided to close, lots of questions & even fewer answers.
I fell back to my roots of planning & preparation once again: Review CDC guidelines, make the lists of needed PPE, find the PPE (harder than it sounds), order the PPE, (wait for the PPE…wait some more!), set the PPE policies & procedures for myself & patients, laundry plan, cleaning plan, etc. This is when a staff of 1 makes life a lot easier, I”m confident I know the plan!
Of course, as soon as I started to feel settled, the governor shifted that the earliest phase 1 would start would be May 15, and the soonest phase 2 would start would be June 1st. (& now it’s even further with phase 1 at May 28th locally…)
Regardless of what date the governor settles on, it became apparent to me that I will go back to in-person care, but telehealth isn’t going away. I had an amazing tele-visit with a West Virginia resident (I’d just gotten my WV PT license the week before thanks to the PT Interstate Licensure Compact!). Under normal circumstances, it would’ve been a 4-hour drive commitment for her to see me. She was the perfect telehealth patient-symptoms were clear, we could analyze movement & make a change within that session. I immediately felt the rush that comes with figuring out a client problem & seeing fast change. In this scenario, telehealth was efficient, effective & more convenient. With more people taking advantage & seeing the benefits of virtual visits, it doesn’t make sense to give it up.
My hands & the ability to gather information with them will always be a part of my practice. I’m not worried about what a couple of month hiatus will do to them. I’ve come back twice from 4-month maternity leaves without missing a beat. Handling PPE & new cleaning procedures is nothing compared to longs days after sleepless nights, finding time to pump in between patients & coming home two small demanding babies. I got this.
All kidding aside, it will be new & different. We’ll figure it out together. I will always put our safety first. I will be slowly phasing in emergent patients as needed. When you do return to the clinic:
- I will be adding 30 minutes between patients to ensure there’s no crossover & sufficient time for the extra-strength-germicides to do their job.
- For the time being, I will be time blocking & limiting in-person care. Many of you have gotten to meet my new “office mate,” my 6-year-old daughter Analia, who accompanies me to work to do telehealth on Tuesdays & Thursdays. As wonderful & tolerant as she’s been with the trips to mama’s office, she’ll be safe at home as in-person care slowly resumes.
NEW POLICIES & PROCEDURES:
- Do not come to treatment if you have a fever or have knowingly been in contact with someone who has active COVID-19.
- All patients must wear a mask throughout the entire session. I’ll be masked as well.
- I will answer the door, as usual, ask you to come in & immediately use hand sanitizer.
- I’ll be using gloves for any manual assessment or treatment.
- I will personally escort you out of the office to limit contact to door-handles, etc.
- Office restroom use will be limited for patient use as much as possible to reduce contact & need for constant cleaning.
So this is me in preparation & planning mode as we slowly figure out what’s next. I will keep providing care as much as possible without compromising your safety or mine. With “how we used to do things” further in the rear-view mirror, I’m focusing forward to continue to help you make gains, celebrate the wins (with air hugs) & keep you moving symptom-free.
Please let me know any questions you have as the hybrid model and policies evolve!
Stay safe & well!