On April 30, the Government of Alberta stated that CMOH Order-07 will be changed to allow for community physiotherapy clinics to begin the treatment of non-emergency cases. Starting May 4, we will be opening to the public in a graduated manner.
Just as the government has a staged reopening strategy, we at Tower Physio have prepared a multi-step plan for the resumption of our operations. We will continue to follow the advisories given by Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hinshaw. As our Province safely moves through its relaunch, we will gradually add more services.
Our provincial regulatory body has laid out guidelines to ensure re-opening is done in a safe manner. Throughout this pandemic, our goal at Tower Physio has been to meet and wherever possible exceed these safety measures.
In reopening, we have been asked to minimize direct patient contact to reduce the risk posed to our patients, staff, and the general public.
The factors that we have been asked to consider when booking in clinic consultations include:
- The acuity of the condition
- The potential impact on our patient’s activity level (ability to work etc.)
- The risks posed to the patient by avoiding treatment (potential hospitalization)
- The need for in person therapy vs. videoconference treatment
In all cases we have been asked to prioritize telehealth and videoconference options. Over the past month, we have discovered that telehealth can address many conditions effectively. We will continue to offer this valuable service during this time.
The College of Physical Therapists of Alberta has outlined 4 key strategies for safe clinic operations at this time. The following, is a detailed description regarding the way in which we at Tower Physio plan on incorporating these measures.
1. Maximize Physical Distancing
- Telehealth and Videoconferencing will continue to be prioritized. Both new patient assessments and follow up visits can be effectively done using this medium. Whenever appropriate, we will continue to ask patients to choose this option.
- Reduced treatment spaces in the clinic. We have reduced the number of beds available in order to maximize the space around each of the treatment areas.
- Reduced staff levels. A maximum of 3 therapists will be working at the same time. With the ample space in our clinic and this restriction, physical distancing measures will be followed effectively.
- Curbside waiting room. In order to minimize the time spent in the waiting area, we ask that you do not enter the clinic upon arrival. Once you have arrived, please send a text message to (587) 316-4243 or call us at (403) 262-2620. We will reply to you and let you know when it is time to come in for your appointment.
- Physical barriers. We have installed a tempered glass barrier in our reception area to increase safety for our patients and our reception staff during any necessary personal interactions.
- Minimized touch surfaces. We have eliminated as many touchpoints within the clinic as possible. The front door will be secured open and the use of payment machines will be limited and sanitary.
- Expanded payment options. To minimize the use of payment machines and further reduce time spent in the waiting room, we will now offer payment processing after your visit. We will be asking patients to allow us to keep their payment information on file in order to process it without direct interaction with our reception staff. Your privacy is of the utmost importance to us and your information will be stored in an encrypted file to maximize security.
- Directed foot traffic. Just as local grocery stores have adopted a policy of one-way travel through the aisles, we have laid out a strategy to minimize two-way foot traffic within the clinic. The direction of travel in each area will be clearly marked.
2. Responsible PPE usage
- Physiotherapists have been instructed to use surgical masks full time while in the clinic, along with gloves and eye protection. Please be aware that the use of N95 masks has been discouraged by the government to ensure adequate supplies for hospital staff.
- Patients will be provided with a surgical mask to wear during their visit. Your therapist will guide you through the recommended steps in handwashing prior to putting on and after removing your mask. We ask that homemade masks not be worn during your treatment, although you are certainly welcome to use them outside the clinic if you choose.
- No food or drink will be allowed in the clinic for the time being to avoid touching or removing facemasks.
3. Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfection practices
- Two-Step cleaning and disinfecting of treatment surfaces, including preliminary cleaning with a standard cleaning agent followed by a secondary wipe with an approved disinfectant, will be adhered to at all times as per Health Canada’s recommendations.
- Routine cleaning and disinfecting of common touchpoints such as bathroom door handles, treatment equipment, and counter surfaces will be implemented and strictly adhered to.
4. Robust patient and staff screening measures
AHS has provided us with the following screening measures.
Any patient or staff member who has met either of the two conditions below, is asked to refrain from entering the clinic
- Anyone who has had any of the following symptoms in the past 14 days, which are either new or have worsened if associated with allergies, chronic or pre-existing conditions. These symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, and/or runny nose.
- Anyone who has returned to Canada from outside the country (including USA) in the past 14 days.
Any patient or staff member who have met any of the following criteria, in the past 14 days, at work or elsewhere, while not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, will be asked to refrain from entering the clinic.
- Having had close contact with someone who has a probable or confirmed case of COVID19.
- Having had close contact with a person who had acute respiratory illness that started within 14 days of their close contact to someone with a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.
- Having had close contact with a person who had acute respiratory illness who returned from travel outside of Canada in the 14 days before they became sick.
- Having had laboratory exposure to biological material (i.e. primary clinical specimens, virus culture isolates) known to contain COVID-19.
Health and safety is our number one priority. We sincerely thank you for your co-operation in helping us keep the clinic a safe and pleasant environment. We look forward to seeing our valued clients again. If you have any suggestions on how our efforts can be improved please let us know. These temporary changes will be updated as conditions require
The Tower Physio Team.