About This Policy
The COVID-19 Policy defines our current understanding of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Fit For Life NI’s plan in response to the threat of COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) in the United Kingdom.
Fit For Life NI’s primary concern is the health and wellbeing of its staff and clients. We have pulled together all the current understanding of COVID-19, what we can all do to minimise the risk of infection/spread and how the service will continue to function during this period.
What Is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus.
The symptoms of coronavirus are as follows:
- High temperature
- Difficulty breathing
- A loss of or change in your normal sense of taste or smell
These symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have the illness. The symptoms are like those for other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
These infections are known to cause more severe symptoms in people with:
- weakened immune systems,
- age>70, Obese
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Pre-existing infection
- Asthma and chronic lung disease
- Alcohol abuse
- Long term steroid use
- Known cancer and currently having active treatment
- BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnicity).
Based on what is currently known about COVID-19 the spread is thought to occur mostly by having direct contact with infectious secretions from someone with COVID-19, close contact can occur from being within 2 meters for a prolonged period of time and carriers of COVID-19 may not show symptoms but may still be highly contagious.
Informing your decision – What Are The Risks Of Opting For Face to Face Physiotherapy?
Current National guidelines do not recommend proceeding with any face-to-face treatment that is non-essential during Covid-19 Pandemic.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has advised to continue Video- consultations for all those who are in routine need of Physiotherapy. Face-to-face treatment is only for those who are in URGENT NEED of Physiotherapy due to underlying pain, injury or condition that is limiting their normal day-to-day activities.
Please seek face-to-face treatment at this time if you believe that it if untreated your injury/condition has a risk of further deterioration and it will also help to avoid the need of other interventions in future.
Please be aware that you will have an increased exposure and subsequent risk of contracting the virus due to the number of other clients that have been in the practice and close contact during receiving treatment from the Physiotherapist.
We will have to move to Remote consultations via Video-call for future appointments if there is changes in National Guidelines due to resurgence of the pandemic or if other health concerns arise or if your injury/condition improves and can be managed by Remote consultations.
Please be aware that during COVID-19 situation, we have added a triage procedure which involves screening questions and assessing your need for Physiotherapy prior to booking any face-to-face appointment. The procedure is repeated after each session.
All appointments offered are subject to triage and in line with National government guidelines, advise from Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and Insurance terms and conditions.
If we agree to a mutual decision to commence face-to-face Physiotherapy, then we will proceed to book an appointment.
You will be advised to fill-in an ONLINE FORM PRIOR to your appointment.
It is our polite request that you submit these forms as soon as your appointment is booked. We will have to cancel your appointment if these forms aren’t received 24 hours before your appointment due to regulations placed on us at this time.
Your Responsibility to Minimise Your Exposure through Social Distancing
- You will only keep your face-to-face appointment if you are Covid-19 symptom free.
- If you or anyone in your household have symptoms of coronavirus, you agree to inform us ASAP to cancel your face-to-face-appointment and proceed using Remote consultation.
- On arrival, you will wait in your car and come to front entrance of the main building at your appointment time and your Physiotherapist will let you in.
- You will use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you enter the building.
- You will adhere to the safe distancing precautions of 2 meters in the reception and waiting area.
- You will try not to touch your face or eyes with your hands during treatment. If you do, you will inform your Physiotherapist and immediately wash or sanitize your hands.
- You will avoid bringing visitors, but if you are bringing your child, you will make sure that your child follows all of these sanitation and distancing protocols.
- You will follow social distancing steps between appointments to minimize your exposure.
- You will immediately inform us if you have a job that exposes you to other infected people.
- If your commute or other responsibilities or activities put you in close contact with others (beyond your family), you will inform us.
Our Infection Control, Hygiene & PPE Measures In Place During The Pandemic
- Waiting area is set up for 2 meters social distancing.
- Hand sanitisers are available for use in the waiting area and treatment rooms.
- We schedule appointments at specific intervals and ask all patients to inform us when they arrive and wait in their car or outside the main door of the premises to avoid/minimise use of waiting area. Physiotherapists will be informed of patient’s arrival and patients will be let in at their appointment time, escorted to the treatment room and back to main door at the end of their appointment by their Physiotherapist.
- Physiotherapist will open treatment room door and patients will be advised not touch the door, walls, switches etc on entry or exit. Patient’s will be requested to only touch the chair and treatment couch and not bring any belongings into the room.
- Physiotherapist will wear appropriate PPE like gloves, apron, face mask and face visor as a precaution during close contact with clients whilst delivering treatment.
- Physiotherapists will wash hands with soap and hot water using the hand washing facilities available in the treatment room before and after treating each patient and sanitise hands when hand washing isn’t practical (i.e Physiotherapist touching equipment, other surfaces and patient simultaneously during treatment).
- Physiotherapists will also wipe down treatment room door handle, couch, and patient chair with antibacterial wipes, all rehab equipment that has been used and any other areas in the treatment area as relevant straight after use.
- Restroom soap dispensers are maintained, and everyone is encouraged to wash their hands after use. But wherever possible or practical, patients are requested to use their own facilities before attending to minimise the use of W.C. facilities.
- Credit card machines, writing pads, pens and other areas that are commonly touched are thoroughly sanitised after each use.
- We recognise the importance of thorough, regular cleaning in the effort to combat the spread of Covid-19. Our premises are thoroughly deep cleaned, and cleaners have been asked to pay particular attention to high frequency ‘touch points’ (such as door handles etc.) when carrying out their work around the premises at lunchtimes and in the evenings. Clinical waste is disposed of on a regular basis.
- If there is a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak reported in any of our clinics we will take action based on advice given to us by the NHS and Public Health England.
- Should there be any need to temporarily close any of the clinics, our Operational and Practice Manager and Administrator will be responsible for advising all clients of the situation.
We are here to support you
At Fit For Life NI, we are fully committed to the health and wellbeing of our clients and we continue to provide you with the same support and assistance as we always do.
We are regrettably unable to see everyone at this time as face-to-face appointments are currently limited under these unprecedented circumstances.
Please be assured that we will continue to review this decision in line with Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and National government guidelines and update our website pop-up information as a priority to keep our clients informed on an on-going basis.
Thank you for all your support and co-operation and we wish you and your loved ones well in these challenging times.
Should you have any further queries regarding Fit For Life NI’s COVID-19 plan to manage the ongoing situation during the Pandemic, then please contact us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.