Covid-19 Safety Protocols
(last update – Nov 15, 2023)
With high vaccination rates and a continually improving situation, all remaining Covid-19 directives were revoked on June 11, 2022. All health care professionals, including RMT’s, were advised to use their professional judgement to determine what protective measures were neccessary based on individual risk assessments so you have likely found many differing approaches since then.
This page is where you will find clarity on the measures I have chosen to keep in place and what you can expect ahead of your next appointment with me. I will continue to update it as the Ministry of Health and the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario make adjustments in response to the ongoing situation so check back regularly to remain current.
The Ministry of Health released an updated list of Covid symptoms on January 4th, 2022. I will continue to screen for these symptoms as follows:
I will forward some information regarding massage therapy and Covid-19 through my online Initial Pre-Treatment Screening Form. You will receive this form when you make your first booking or, if you make your appointment in advance, in the week before your scheduled session. Subsequent screenings will occur onsite before EVERY appointment after the first one and may include a temperature check using a touchless infrared thermometer if I feel it is necessary.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health chose to lift the remaining provincial masking requirements on June 11, 2022. All health care professionals are now making their own masking policies based on individual risk assessments.
Effective Oct 2, 2023, masks will again be mandatory in all parts of the clinic except when face down on the table if that is your preference. (please see illness guideline below for restrictions) This is due to an increase in Covid infections both provincially and locally.
In an effort to protect the environment, I no longer supply disposable masks. Clean, reusable cloth masks will be freely available for patient use but you are welcome to bring your own as well.
I will continue to wear an N95 mask at all times and you are welcome to purchase one at cost ($2) if you’d prefer a higher level of protection while in my space.
You will be asked to wash/sanitize your hands upon arrival as well as before you leave. Instructions are posted in the washroom on the most effective way to do this to prevent the spread of infection. You can also view instructional videos here. I will wash my hands and forearms before you arrive, before your treatment and after we’re done..
YOUR VACCINATION STATUS
Part of the updated screening guidance provided on August 21st, 2021 was to inquire regarding the vaccination status of every patient. I will continue to do this as part of my screening process. Here is some clarity on what I ask, why I ask and how your vaccination status will affect our treatment choices.
- Your vaccination status is considered private health information under the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) 2004. As such, you are not required to answer this question if you so choose.
- Vaccination status, in and of itself, DOES NOT affect my ability to see you as a patient. If you are not fully vaccinated or prefer to keep your status private, I will simply ask a few additional screening questions. Your answers to ALL my questions determine how we proceed.
- I use your answers to inform my risk assessment – determining whether the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks for both of us. To create the safest experience, I may choose to take additional steps to protect us both (ie. more questions, augmented use of PPE) or postpone/reschedule your appointment if I feel it’s necessary.
Lastly, while I encourage and support the government’s evidence-informed vaccination campaign, it is not within an RMT’s Scope of Practice to discuss the Covid vaccine in detail or provide advice regarding the types of vaccines available. For more information and clarity on this topic, I suggest contacting your primary healthcare provider or clicking on one of the links below.
Government of Ontario: COVID-19 Vaccine
Public Health Ontario’s Vaccine Safety
Health Canada’s Vaccines for COVID-19: Authorized Vaccines
Centre for Effective Practice: COVID-19 Vaccines
MOH – About Covid-19 Vaccines
MY VACCINATION STATUS
I recieved all available vaccinations as they were released as well as the updated version of the vaccine in November of 2023. I continue to undergo regular testing as well. I am also self-screening before every workday and will cancel my appointments if needed.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Before/after your treatment and behind the scenes, this is what will be happening:
- Linens, blankets and my apron will be changed before and after every treatment.
- Anything in the treatment room that isn’t changed will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after every session.
- All high contact surfaces outside the treatment room will be cleaned and disinfected regularly throughout the day.
- A true HEPA air purifier (Honeywell HPA300C) is on all day. It is placed on its highest setting between every appointment to remove any lingering contaminants before you enter the treatment room and is put to work in the waiting area overnight.
- Continual monitoring of CO2 levels as an indicator or air quality (Inkbirdplus Indoor Air Quality Monitor) and adjusting air ventilation accordingly
- Windows will be opened periodically throughout the day or left open during clinic hours, depending on the season.
For more details on how my day-to-day operations have changed please visit my FAQ page.
ILLNESS GUIDELINE - IF YOU OR A HOUSEHOLD MEMBER DEVELOP SYMPTOMS
As we head into cold, flu and now Covid season, there will inevitably be times when you or a member of your household will develop symptoms of illness. Since antigen tests are no longer freely available you may not be sure what the cause is and wonder if you should cancel your appointment. Here is how I will be handling these situations:
If you develop symptoms of illness and:
- test POSITIVE for Covid, please stay home. Reschedule your appointment for 10 or more days from the date of your positive test result.
- test NEGATIVE for Covid OR you are not able to test for Covid, please stay home until you are symptom-free for at least 48 hours. NOTE: If you reschedule your next appointment within 10 days of the onset of symptoms, you will need to wear a well-fitted mask at all times while in the clinic including while face down on the table even if you are symptom-free when you actually come in.
- are reasonably sure that your symptoms are due to a non-infectious cause (ie. asthma, allergies, chronic sinus irritation, etc) you do not need to change your appointments.
If a member of your household has symptoms of illness and:
- tests POSITIVE for Covid OR is not able to test for Covid, you may keep any upcoming appointments so long as you remain symptom-free. NOTE: You will need to wear a well-fitted mask at all times while in the clinic including while face down on the table.
- tests NEGATIVE for Covid OR you are reasonably sure that their symptoms are due to a non-infectious cause (asthma, chronic sinus infection, allergies,etc) you may keep any upcoming appointments so long as you remain symptom-free.
Most of us know what symptoms to be mindful of by now but here are a few resources in case you need them.
In this unprecedented time of social distancing, I’ve been searching for a way to offer guidance to those patients who are unable to see me in person. Through a remote consultation using either a video format or just over the phone, I will assess your situation and offer advice and support to help with whatever pain or disfunction you’re experiencing. Following our session, I will send a written summary of my recommendations with video links to exercises and stretches for your reference. To book a virtual consultation click here.
The following treatments have been modified as detailed below:
* Indie Scalp Massage has been modified to exclude some techniques around the mucous membranes of the face – eyes, nose and mouth. Although I can work under your mask if needed/requested, it’s not necessary and your mask will stay on at all times, except face down if you prefer.
* TMJ massage for jaw pain can be performed using both intra and extra-oral techniques. If intra-oral work is indicated, the patient’s mask will be removed to allow easy access. The therapist will wear a mask, vinyl gloves and face shield.
If you have any questions about all the information I’ve included here, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll do my best to clarify.
Take care and I hope to see you soon!