Can I have private physiotherapy at home now?
We’re in Lockdown 3 and vaccine hopes are getting closer. It’s been a hard winter and many businesses are being asked to close once again as we all do our bit to help limit the spread of the virus.
But can you access physiotherapy? 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 reopened our practice in June 2020, it is not business as usual and for some time yet things will continue to be different.
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, postponed joint replacement surgery 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. Since returning to face to face consultations we have witnessed the heartbreaking effects of loneliness, carer fatigue, and physical deconditioning first hand.
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. As our regular clients access the vaccine we hope to be welcoming back many familiar faces who have been sorely missed.
As health care providers we have been permitted to deliver face to face physiotherapy and occupational therapy since June 2020. Special consideration has been required to how we can safely deliver a much needed service to vulnerable clients many of whom are older, with underlying health problems.
To protect our clients and our team of therapists, when and how we work is 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. We have worked 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 during Lockdown 3 from January 2021.
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 advice alters.
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 I sure miss those highlights, 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, a visor or goggles, gloves and an apron. Our kit may include, 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 you rather than face to face. It is of course not always appropriate to take your session outside due to the January weather but where possible we will ask that our session takes place in a well ventilated room ideally with an open window.
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. If you feel your treatment can wait then feel free to book an appointment well in advance.
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