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

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, new clinic policy has been created and will be implemented for all appointments at Sam Chapple Osteopathy until Government advice dictates otherwise.

The policy has been formed using the guidance provided by Government and Public Health England (PHE) channels, as well as more specifically via Osteopathic Governing Bodies and Unions. The policy also follows guidance outlined in the Osteopathic Practice Standards, which have been updated to include measures specific to COVID-19.

 

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.

 

Below is the Full Detailed Policy, outlining all 5 stages of development and implementation. For the ‘Key Points’ version of the policy, please click here.

 

Full Detailed Policy

Section 1 – Clinic Risk Assessment

A full risk assessment of the clinic has been carried out, identifying measures that would be taken to adapt the clinic to function properly and safely during the current COVID-19 situation. This risk assessment will be reviewed as the advice provided by the Government changes.

Heightened Cleaning Measures

  • The clinic room will be fully disinfected between each patient.

  • Communal areas that a patient comes into contact with will be fully disinfected between each patient.

Increased Protection Measures

  • All linen has been removed from the clinic room.

  • Cashless payments – all payments are to be made via card or payment links (sent directly to the patient by the practitioner).

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been sourced and will be used extensively throughout all appointment.

Distancing Measures

  • Furniture within the clinic room has been rearranged to ensure adequate distance between the practitioner and patient during the case history portion of appointments.

    • This aims to limit the time in which practitioner and patient are within 2 metres of one another.

  • Appointment times will be staggered in order to prevent any overlap or crossover between patients, and to ensure adequate cleaning time between each appointment.

  • Patients are asked to arrive for their appointments at the scheduled time.

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

Contactless Appointments Available

  • For those who do not feel comfortable, or are unable to attend an appointment, virtual appointments will continue to be available (via telephone or video calls).

 

Section 2 – Protection Before and During Appointments

It is of vital importance that the health and safety of both Practitioner and Patient is ensured throughout all appointments.

Therefore, the following measures will be taken:

Pre-Appointment Screening

  • All patients will be contacted the day before their scheduled appointment and asked to complete a screening questionnaire.

    • This is to assess for infection risk and eligibility for an appointment.

    • This is compulsory and failure to complete the questionnaire will result in the appointment being cancelled.

    • Any negative answers to the questions will result in the appointment being unable to go ahead. In this instance the patient will be contact and further advice will be given as appropriate.

  • Upon arrival:

    • All patients will have their temperature taken (via a contactless thermometer gun) and final screening questions will be asked.

      • If temperature is found to be equal or above the figure considered to be ‘fever’ (37.8°C) or final screening questions are answered negatively, the appointment will not go ahead.

    • If final checks are passed, patients will be asked to wash their hands.

  • Practitioners will be subject to these same checks

  • Any patient considered to be on the 'Shielded Patient List' (as per Government/NHS instruction) will be unable to book and attend appointments.

    • This is subject to change if/when Government advice changes.​

Protection for Staff

  • It has been confirmed that the Practitioner, or anyone that they are in direct contact with, is not part of the ‘vulnerable’ group.

  • PPE will be worn throughout all appointments – full details in Section 4.

  • Patients will be required to wear an adequate face mask for all appointments – this is compulsory, for any patient who requires a mask, these can be purchased from the clinic.

 

Protocol for Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in the Clinic Setting

  • In the event of a confirmed case, all relevant personnel will be contacted and advised appropriately as soon as possible.

  • Individuals with a confirmed case of COVID-19 are most contagious from the first day that they develop symptoms, however it is advised that there is also a small infection risk during the 2 days prior to symptoms first developing.

  • Anybody who attends an appointment at the clinic and subsequently develops symptoms associated with COVID-19 are asked to advise the clinic of this as soon as possible.

    • In this instance, they will be advised to follow self-isolation protocol and request a test as per Government advice.

 

Confirmed Case of COVID in a Patient (symptoms developed within 2 days of attending the clinic

  • Patient to advise the clinic as soon as symptoms develop and then further advise once they have the result from their test.

  • Those is DIRECT contact with the patient (Practitioner):

    • Due to the extensive and adequate use of PPE, guidance states that there is no need to self-isolate in this instance.

    • Practitioner will continue as normal but will monitor for symptoms as per guidance.

    • If symptoms develop subsequently, practitioner will follow isolation protocol and request a test.

      • If test result in this instance is positive, practitioner will advise relevant personnel and follow Governments ‘Return to Work’ advice.

  • Those in INDRECT contact with the patient (others in the clinic at same time):

    • Guidance states that there is no need for these individuals to self-isolate.

    • Those in this group will be advised of the situation by the practitioner and guidance/advice will be confirmed to them – continue as normal but monitor for any symptoms.

    • If symptoms develop, individuals are advised to follow isolation protocol and request a test.

  • For patients who attend an appointment within the 2-day period, the following advice applies:

    • Due to extensive and adequate use of PPE by the Practitioner, the infection risk is very low.

    • Although there is no obligation to do so, the Practitioner will contact all patients who attend the clinic within the 2-day period to advise them of the situation as a courtesy.

    • The guidance states that in this instance there is no need to self-isolate. Individuals should continue as normal and monitor for symptoms.

      • In the event that they develop symptoms, the advice remains the same – follow self-isolation protocol and request a test.

 

Upon Arrival for Appointments

  • Patients are asked to arrive for their appointment at the scheduled time.

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

  • Patients will have their temperature taken (via a contactless thermometer gun) and will be required to confirm that they are not suffering from any associated COVID-19 symptoms (final screening questions).

  • Patients will be asked to wash/sanitise their hands before entering the clinic room.

  • If a patient would like a towel for modesty they are asked to bring their own from home.

    • The towel needs to be newly washed.

    • The towel needs to be transported in a clean plastic bag.

    • The towel needs to be washed immediately after an appointment, keeping it away from other household laundry.

 

Chaperones for Appointments

  • If a patient requires or would like a chaperone, they are welcome to bring one.

    • For patients under 16 years old, it is law that they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for all appointments.

    • It is also clinic policy that anyone who would like a chaperone to accompany them to appointments are welcome to have one.

  • Chaperones must be limited to ONE person only.

  • Chaperones will be subject to the same pre-appointment screening as all patients, with the same outcomes.

    • Any negative responses to screening will result in them being unable to accompany the patient and may also impact the patient’s eligibility for an appointment.

  • Patients are asked to declare at the point of booking with they require/would like a chaperone to attend the appointment with them.

 

Section 3 – Increased Hygiene Measures

Existing hygiene and cleaning measures have been assessed and specific measures added in order to enhance existing infection control in response to COVID-19.

Increased Sanitisation and Cleaning

  • Clinic room will be fully disinfected at the start of each day and between each patient.

    • Treatment couch, Desk, Chairs, Flooring, Door Handles, Hard Surfaces all to be cleaned.

  • Hallway/Communal Areas to be fully disinfected between each appointment.

    • Flooring, Door Handles, Hard Surfaces to all be cleaned.

  • Toilet will be fully disinfected after each use by a patient.

  • Hospital strength sanitisers to be used (>60% alcohol) and bleach-based detergent to be used to clean flooring.

  • All linen has been removed and the clinic room has been decluttered, minimising potential transmission risk and reducing surfaces that required disinfection.

 

Aeration of Clinic Room

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

  • After each appointment, the clinic door will remain closed with windows fully open for a minimum of 20 minutes to allow for adequate aeration of the room before disinfection.

  • No fans or other air-circulating mechanisms will be used within the clinic room.

 

Hand Hygiene Measures

  • The practitioner will be bare below the elbow (short sleeves or rolled up sleeves).

  • Full hand washing will be undertaken before and after each patient (including the forearms) for a minimum of 20 seconds.

  • The practitioner will use gloves for the duration of all appointments.

  • Hand sanitisers will be available for use throughout all appointments.

 

Respiratory and Cough Hygiene

  • We are fully aware that not every cough is related to COVID – especially during the current hayfeaver season!

  • The clinic will continue to follow the ‘Catch It, Kill It, Bin It’ protocol as per usual.

  • Single use tissues and a contactless bin will be available for proper disposal.

  • Hand hygiene facilities will be available.

 

Section 4 – Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

As per the guidance received, adequate PPE has been sourced and will be worn throughout all appointments in the interests of health and safety.

The following measures relating to PPE will be taken:

PPE Used During Appointments

  • The Practitioner will wear the following PPE during all appointments:

    • Single use gloves

    • Single use apron

    • Fluid-resistant surgical mask

    • Eye protection (visor or goggles) will be used at the discretion of the practitioner depending on the perceived risk of transmission (for example, if the patient has symptomatic hayfeaver)

 

Replacement of PPE

  • PPE will be replaced as per the guidance provided by Public Health England (PHE).

  • Gloves and Apron will be changed after each patient.

  • Masks and/or Visors will be replaced at the end of each clinic session (every 4 hours) OR if they have become contaminated, damaged, damp or difficult to breathe through.

 

Patients and PPE

  • Patients are asked to wear an adequate face mask for the duration of all appointments – this is compulsory and failure to do so will result in appointments not going ahead.

  • Adequate face masks will be available to purchase from the clinic is required.

 

Disposal of PPE

  • All items of PPE and cleaning products will be disposed of appropriately, as per PHE guidance, following the below process:

    • Items will be double-plastic bagged and left for 72 hours.

    • Bagged items will be kept away from any other household waste.

    • After 72 hours, bags will be disposed of via normal waste disposal process (local authority collection).

 

Section 5 – Communication with Patients

 

New clinic policy will be communicated to all patients (existing and new) via normal channels – website, social media, email.

 

Website & Social Media

  • Both versions of the policy will be available at all times via the website – links to both will be clearly displayed on all pages of the website.

  • Social media posts promoting the new policy will be posted.

 

Email

  • Existing patients will receive the new policy via a newsletter email, as with all clinic communications, and will be encouraged to read thoroughly.

  • Any new patients will be sent a copy of the policy or directed to the relevant page on the website at the point of booking and encouraged to read thoroughly.

 

Copy for Patients

  • All patients can request a copy of both versions of the new policy by contacting the clinic via normal avenues.

 

Pre-Appointment Contact

  • All patients will be contacted the day before their booked appointment in order to complete the screening questionnaire.

  • Subject to the results of the questionnaire, patients will also be contacted to confirm their appointment.

  • Communication pre-appointment may be made via telephone call, text message or email.

 

Posters and Notices

  • Relevant and informative posters and notices will be visible within the clinic room.

 

For any questions, concerns or feedback relating to the implementation of this new 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 appointments.

Sam Chapple Osteopathy   -   80 Trowley Rise, Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, WD5 0LW