Sam Chapple Osteopathy Response to COVID-19 - New Clinic Policy

New clinic policy has been developed in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This new policy will allow the clinic to function safety during this ongoing situation. The policy has been developed based on guidance from Government documentation, Public Health England and, more specifically, the Osteopathic world.

The policy will apply for all appointments, with no exceptions. If, for whatever reason, the policy cannot be followed fully, appointments will not continue.

Due to the close proximity of face-to-face appointments at Sam Chapple Osteopathy, the 2-metre social distancing advice cannot be adhered to – this does mean that there is an increased risk to everyone involved. However, the development and implementation of this new policy ensures that this risk is minimal and that the health and safety of patients remains at the core of clinic policy.

For the full detailed version of this policy, please click here.

Key Points


Changes in the Clinic Room

  • The clinic room has been rearranged to increase the distance between the Practitioner and Patient during the case history portion of appointments.

  • All linen has been removed from the clinic.

    • This includes treatment couch covers, pillowcases and towels (wipeable pillows have replaced regular pillows).

    • This is designed to reduce infection and transmission risk.

  • Complete disinfection of the clinic room between each appointment.


Before Appointments

  • Patients will be required to complete a pre-appointment screening questionnaire before all appointments.

    • Patients will be contacted the day before their scheduled appointment and asked to complete the pre-appointment screening questionnaire.

    • The questionnaire screens each patient for infection risk and eligibility for their scheduled appointment.

    • If any of the questions are answered negatively, unfortunately the appointment will be unable to proceed. In this instance, the patient will be contact and given further advice.

  • Patients are asked to attend their appointments alone and AT the scheduled time.

    • If a patient arrives early, they are asked to wait in their car outside until the scheduled appointment time.

      • This is to prevent any crossover between patients and also to ensure adequate cleaning time between each appointment.

    • If a patient requires or would like a chaperone the following applies:

      • Patients are asked to only bring ONE chaperone with them in an instance where they require or would like one to accompany them to appointments.

      • Under-16s are required by law to have a parent or guardian attend all appointments with them.

      • It is clinic policy that any patient who would like a chaperone to accompany them for appointments is welcome to have one.

      • It must be declared at the time of booking that a chaperone is required/wanted.

      • All chaperones will go through the same pre-appointment screening as patients, with the same outcomes.

  • If patients would like the use a towel for modesty reasons, they are asked to bring their own to appointments.

    • All linen has been removed from the clinic room and so no towels will be available for use.

    • Patients are asked that any towel that they bring is newly washed and brought to appointments in a plastic carrier bag. It is then taken home and immediately washed, away from any other regular household laundry.

  • Patients are asked to limit bringing ‘unnecessary’ items to appointments.

    • For example, leave loose jumpers or coats in the car rather than bring them into the appointment.


During Appointments

  • Arrival for appointments:

    • Patients will have their temperature checked (via a contactless thermometer gun), final screening questions will be asked, and patients will be asked to wash/sanitiser their hands.

      • If their temperature if found to be above the range considered to be ‘fever’ (equal or above 37.8°C) then the appointment will not go ahead and the patient will be advised further in regards to isolating and testing.

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

    • PPE will be used throughout all appointments, in line with current guidance, to minimise the risk of infection for both practitioner and patients.

    • Patients are asked to wear a face mask for the duration of all appointments.

    • PPE will be correctly changed and disposed of between appointments.

    • Hand sanitiser (of hospital strengthen) will be available for use throughout all appointments.

  • Windows will remain open throughout all appointments, blinds to remain closed for privacy as per usual.

    • This is to aid aeration of the clinic room.

  • Treatment techniques may differ from past experiences.

    • Guidance has been provided to reduce infection/transmission risk between practitioner and patient.

    • As a result, certain treatment techniques have been advised against and so alternatives will be used to achieve the same outcomes.

    • Rest assured, all treatment performed has been included in the extensive training undertaken and will not be performed without full consent from the patient and any relevant safety checks performed (as per usual).


 After Appointments

  • Patients are asked to follow any advice/exercises prescribed during appointments as per usual.

  • Patients are asked to inform me if they develop any symptoms associated with COVID-19 as soon as possible.

    • Patients will be advised to request a test (as per Government instruction), and in the event of a positive result the clinic will follow their ‘Confirmed COVID Case’ protocol (detailed in the next section).

  • Patients can book follow-up appointments as per usual but will be asked to complete the same pre-appointment screening before each appointment.


Confirmed COVID Case Protocol

  • The guidance states that the infectious period for an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is 2 days prior to developing first symptoms.

    • The infection risk is thought to be low in this 2-day period.

    • An individual is most infectious once they have developed symptoms.

  • Patients are asked to advise the clinic if they develop symptoms associated with COVID-19 within 2 days of attending an appointment. If subsequent testing confirms a positive result the following guidance applies:

    • Those is direct contact (Practitioner):

      • No need to self-isolate as long as adequate PPE is worn – it is clinic policy that adequate PPE (as per guidance) will be worn at ALL times during appointments.

      • In this instance the Practitioner is advised to continue as normal but to monitor for any symptoms associated with COVID.

        • IF symptoms do develop the Practitioner will follow self-isolation protocol outline by the Government and will request a test.

          • If result is negative, Practitioner will continue to work as normal.

          • If result is positive, Practitioner will isolate and follow the Government’s return to work advice (flowchart) – link!

    • Those in indirect contact (anyone in the clinic at the same time):

      • Will be advised of the situation but there is no need to self-isolate.

      • Guidance states that individuals should continue as normal but to monitor for symptoms and if any develop subsequently, to follow isolation protocol and request testing.

  • For any patients who attend an appointment at the clinic during the 2-day period detailed above, the following advice applies:

    • As per clinic policy, the practitioner will always be wearing adequate PPE therefore minimising the risk of infection for themselves and patient alike.

    • Guidance states that there is no need for anyone to self-isolate in this scenario.

    • Out of courtesy, all patients who attend an appointment during the 2-day period will be contacted and advised of the situation by the clinic.

      • Advice will be given, as per the guidance – individuals will be advised to continue as normal but to monitor for any symptoms and if any develop to follow isolation and testing protocol.


Final Remarks

The full detailed version of this new clinic policy is available by clicking here.

Some final points are detailed below:

  • Any individual who falls into the ‘vulnerable’ group (as per Government/NHS instruction) and is currently shielding, will not be able to book or attend appointments.

    • This is subject to change as guidance changes.

  • This new policy will be followed as strictly as humanly possible. Failure to do so, for whatever reason, will result in appointments not going ahead.

  • I (as the Practitioner) will be subject to the same checks as all patients, with the same outcomes.

  • The new policy will be under constant review as guidance changes, any updates will be communicated appropriately.

This new policy will take some time to implement effectively, and so I ask for everybody’s patience as we all familiarise ourselves with this ‘new normal’. Rest assured however, the policy is designed with the interests of everybody’s health at its core, minimising risk of infection, and ensuring that everyone feels safe attending appointments.

Any questions, concerns or feedback in relation to the implementation of this policy, or for any general enquiries, please do not hesitate to get in touch via normal avenues.

I look forward to seeing you all soon for appointment.