Covid-19 Safety Protocols

It was a very detailed and exhaustive process but I have safely reopened my practice and found my new normal.  As the Ministry of Health and the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario adjust their guidelines, I will update my practices accordingly and relay that information through this page so check back often to stay up to date.  Here’s what you should know and can expect ahead of your next appointment.

SCREENING

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On January 4, 2022, the Ministry of Health released an updated list of Covid symptoms. I will screen for these symptoms and give you some information regarding massage therapy and Covid through my online Initial Pre-Treatment Screening Form. You will receive this form at the time of booking or, if you make your appointment in advance, in the week before your scheduled appointment. A less detailed Follow-Up Screening Form will be sent out before EVERY appointment after the first one. THESE FORMS ARE MANDATORY and will need to be completed in order to secure your session.

Lastly, an onsite screening will be done when you arrive including a temperature reading using a touch-less infrared thermometer. 

YOUR VACCINATION STATUS

On August 26th, 2021, the Ministry of Health released an updated set of screening questions that all health care professionals are required to ask. I may ask more questions than are required of me but I’m not permitted to ask less and I am now mandated to ask you regarding your vaccination status. Here is some clarity on what I ask, why I ask and what you can expect.

  • 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 am simply required to 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

 

 

VISITORS

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Please arrive alone (unless you require assistance) and as close to your treatment time as possible. I’m in the fortunate position of being alone in my clinic but it is a small space. I am spreading out my appointments to allow for cleaning and disinfection but also so none of my clients run into eachother if at all possible. That being said, you are welcome to bring a friend or family member with you if you like.

HAND WASHING

 

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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..

MASKS

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With high vaccination rates and a continually improving situation, the Chief Medical Officer of Health has chosen to lift the remaining provincial masking requirements on June 11, 2022. The exceptions will be higher risk indoor health care settings and long-term care homes but all other settings will need to perform their own risk assessment and decide if continuing to mask is best for their practice so you will likely find many differing approaches to this moving forward.

My treatment room has no windows or direct ventilation and I have prolonged face-to-face contact with all my patients, some of which are immunocompromised.  In order to keep everyone safe, I have chosen to continue to require all persons entering my clinic to wear a CLEAN, WELL-FITTED mask at all times – at least for now. You can choose to wear an N95, surgical/procedure or cloth mask and I will have cloth and surgical masks available onsite for those who need them.

 Instructions on how to put on, wear, take off and dispose of a mask will be available. You can also check out an instructional video here. Because of mask shortages and increased costs, some people are choosing to reuse their masks which can be an option if you know how to do it properly.   Click here for a video on how to do this.   

If you are stongly opposed to wearing a mask, please discuss it with me and we will work together to find a solution that works for both of us. 

BEHIND THE SCENES

 

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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, disinfected and documented as such after every session.
  • All high contact surfaces outside the treatment room will be cleaned, disinfected and documented as such 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

For more details on how my day-to-day operations have changed please visit my FAQ page.

 

IF YOU DEVELOP SYMPTOMS

 

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If at any point you or any of your close contacts develop covid symptoms (updated January 4, 2022), you should immediately self-isolate and contact your GP, local health authority or Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000. You can find Ontario’s online Covid-19 self-assessment tool here. This will give you a recommendation on what to do next. You can find a list of Toronto regional Covid-19 testing centres here.

Because of decreased testing capacity, the Ministry of Health has advised all symptomatic individuals to assume they are positive for Covid-19 and follow these guidelines. I also ask that you inform me of your situation and cancel any upcoming appointments until such time as you have completed your self-isolation AND are symptom-free for a minimum of 2 days OR cleared through a negative test result.  

MY VACCINATION STATUS

 

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I received my second dose of the vaccine in June 2021 and a booster shot in November 2021. Before opening my practice, I was tested for coronavirus and received a negative result. Despite being fully vaccinated, I continue to undergo regular testing as well. I am also self-screening before every workday and will cancel my appointments if needed. 

PRIORITIZING

 

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I will be prioritizing essential/urgent patients first at this time. This does not mean that I will not have time for those with less pressing concerns. It does mean that the benefits of treatment should outweigh the risks of infection until such time that the Ministry of Health deems the situation less volatile.

 

REDUCED HANDS-ON HOURS

My time is less limited since my children have gone back to school. However, due to longer gaps needed between clients and time allocated to disinfection and documentation, my availability is less than before Covid began. My current hours are as follows:

Mon 9-5 | Tues 9-4:30 | Wed – 3:30-8 | Thurs 9-1:30 | Fri 9-5 | Sat 9-10:30 | Sun – closed

When the pandemic situation stabilizes and safety restrictions are lessened the number of sessions I can accommodate within the above hours may increase but that could take a while. My estimate is that reduced capacity will be in place until the fall of 2022 at the earliest.

VIRTUAL CONSULTATIONS/COACHING

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.

REDUCED TREATMENT OPTIONS

Some treatments will be modified or unavailable at this time due the difficulty in establishing or maintaining infection control protocols. The following treatments are temporarily unavailable:

* Thai Massage

* Infant Massage

* Indie Scalp Massage has been modified to exclude techniques around the mucous membranes of the face (eyes, nose and mouth). 

When restrictions ease and/or I am able to obtain the supplies needed to provide treatment safely, you will again see suspended treatments as an option when booking. 

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! 

Dora