Can I have private physiotherapy at home now?
The short answer is “Maybe.”
We really, really (like really!) miss our clients and we would love nothing more than to return to normal.
COVID-19 has disrupted normal life for us all in so many ways. While we make tentative steps towards reopening our practice, alas, it won’t be business as usual for some time yet and things will be different for a while.
There is an anticipated fallout from the pandemic, with some predicting a ‘tsunami of rehabilitation needs’. This is not just foreseen for survivors of the disease itself but for those who have become de-conditioned as a result of staying home, social isolation and the inability to access non-urgent healthcare for pre-existing or new illnesses. Many of our clients use our home visiting services as routine maintenance for their long term health conditions and this has been sorely missed.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy expects that the public need and desire to access physiotherapy will rise in the coming weeks with this also reflected particularly in demand on private physiotherapy and other independent practitioners.
Don’t get me wrong, a tsunami of work to be done and new business is all very exciting, but we won’t be diving in headfirst. As lockdown restrictions ease, and many businesses start to reopen their doors, where does this leave physiotherapy practices who like us work with vulnerable clients many of whom are older, with underlying health problems?
To protect our clients and our team of therapists, when and how we will work will be different. We are different from most physiotherapy clinics in that we don’t have a physical clinic to manage for infection risk at this time, we have no waiting room to worry about and you won’t be exposed to other clients. Behind the scenes we are working hard to reopen face to face consultations in client’s own homes, in a way that maintains the safety of our clients and their families.
In this blog I explain how Zest Physiotherapy will look when we reopen for business on 15th June.
Virtual first approach
We offer remote video consultations, and we will be encouraging everybody to try this option in the first instance. Trust us, we can be equally as effective in identifying the issues and advising you as we are in person. Physiotherapy is about a lot more than the poking and prodding that we sometimes do. We understand that lots of you aren’t keen on this but everyone who has tried this has been converted.
You can read more about our video consultation service here.
In fact, if you are happy to go with a video consultation then feel free to book this online here.
Not everyone will get a home visit
We have a duty of care for all of our clients so just because you really want a face to face consultation, doesn’t mean you will get one. I know, I know. It’s harsh because we care.
We will work with you to establish the risks, find out about your condition and circumstances and involve you in the clinical decision making to decide whether face to face therapy is the best thing for you.
The bottom line is that the benefits of seeing your physiotherapist face to face must be demonstrably greater than the risks of infection transmission before we go ahead and book.
It is equally important that you understand the risks involved so we will discuss this with you fully.
In some cases we may need to put things on hold and review the decision as the pandemic progresses further.
We can keep in touch though so, as soon as we can, we can book your home visit.
We will look a little different
I am very noticeably long overdue a haircut, and some colour on those roots, but that’s not what I mean.
When we arrive to see you in your home we will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Expect us to be wearing a surgical face mask, gloves and an apron. Our kit may include goggles, shoe covers, a fresh change of clothes or scrubs that will be unique to your visit, hair will be tied back and we may have fancier masks depending on what the visit is likely to be for.
We may seem a little more distant
Don’t worry we will be just as friendly as ever, but for those parts of the visit that don’t require us to be up close and personal such as taking a medical history or talking you through our advice or planning your treatment, we will be at least 2 metres away. Where we can, we will sit alongside side you rather than face to face. Even better, let’s take things outside to the garden! It may be possible to do the entire visit outdoors if this glorious weather holds out.
Some of the paperwork we usually do will happen before we arrive so you may get some forms to fill in via email or in the post if you prefer.
We need your help
Our new processes really rely on clients working together with our therapists to keep everybody as safe as we possibly can.
What we really need from you is your understanding of the changes to our way of working.
A few requests…
- Please cancel your appointment if you (or anybody in your household or somebody you have had close contact with) develop ANY symptoms of COVID-19 including a cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell. We really don’t mind. There will be no cancellation fees and we can reschedule to visit you again soon.
- It would be really great if you could provide us with soap and a bowl of water on your doorstep for us to use when we arrive and leave. We want to avoid accessing more areas of your home than necessary and this means we don’t have to use your bathroom to wash our hands.
- Listen to our instructions on how to store the bagged PPE waste and how to dispose of it safely. After your visit we will bag this up and explain to you how to dispose of it in your regular waste collection.
- Keep the areas we will be using well ventilated. Open the windows and doors or consider having your consultation outdoors if possible.
- Wipe down surfaces and wash your hands before the consultation and after we leave.
We aren’t going anywhere
We aren’t going anywhere so we will be here when this is all over.
Whether you can access face to face private physiotherapy at home during this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic is dependent on many factors. We have developed a clear criteria for who can and can’t access the services at the moment and we will work with you through the process to help make clinically reasoned decisions on this.
Things will look a little different for a while and we need your help to make sure we keep our clients and therapists safe.
COVID-19 has brought rehabilitation needs to the forefront of healthcare and we will be here when the time is right to deliver exactly what you need, at home.
Our friendly team of therapists eagerly await the opportunity to work with you to help you to take positive steps towards your goals.
Ready to get started?
If you are ready to get started, you can give us a call on 07944660192 and we can take the first steps to deciding the best approach for you.
Or if you simply want to register your interest in a home visit when everything is back to normal give us a call and we will put you on our waiting list.
De Biase, S et al (2020) The COVID-19 Rehabilitation Pandemic. Age and Ageing. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society.
Working safely during COVID-19 in other people’s homes. HM Government Guidance for employers, employees and the self employed. 11th May 2020
COVID-19 How to work safely in care homes. Public Health England. 27th April 2020
Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19. HM Government Guidance. 18th May 2020
Managing Risk: Infection Prevention & Control. Health Care Professions Council. April 2020
COVID-19 How to decide if face to face consultations are appropriate. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. 12th May 2020
Guidance for opening up our practices, advice for practices in England. Physiofirst. May 2020
Putting on personal protective equipment (PPE) Public Health England 23rd April 2020
Taking off personal protective equipment (PPE) Public Health England 22nd April 2020