Here for our patients in these tough times – at least for now March 18, 2020
It has been a long few weeks for everyone!
To those who are calling us angry that we are open, please understand that we are doing this to help. Our obligation is to care for people, even when it might be easier to stay home.
As this crisis unfolds we are being challenged as health professionals. We are being challenged as employers. We are being challenged as humans who just want to make sure that we make the best decisions based on the best evidence and information available to us. In many cases we have to admit to ourselves that we just have to do our best to make the right decision in our hearts. We are actively, and hourly, weighing the risks of our staff and patients against the moral and ethical values of remaining a safe harbor for patients who may not have other places to turn. In some cases, it’s the patient who is a paramedic, firefighter, nurse or physician. People who we all need in the fight. In others, it’s the mom who is in too much pain to look after her kids who are now home and in need of her attention. I am not being dramatic here. This is our present reality and I am in awe of our team for being bigger than our present fears might be leading us to be.
As a team, we have been in constant communication with one another. We have included our staff, our partners, our profession, our College and our patients in the decisions we are making. This is no small task. It has taken me from a full time physiotherapist and business owner, to a full time crisis manager. Our decisions have never been about money. They are not about money now. They will continue to be about doing the right thing for our patients at the right time.
NEW STEPS BEING TAKEN:
In order for us to care for people in critical need or emergent situations we are adding additional steps to ensure our environments remain as safe as possible:
- We are asking patients to sign a form that acknowledges they are not ill, have not cared for someone ill, been in contact with anyone diagnosed with Covid19 or have not traveled in the past 14 days.
- We are reducing beds available and capping our clinics patient capacity to ensure increased social distance.
- Treatments are to be shortened where possible so as to limit the duration our patients are in a public setting.
- We are eliminating more touch points such as modalities so as to decrease the risk further.
- Consider remaining in your car until your exact appointment time. We will bring you in promptly.
- New patients and clients will be contacted by a physiotherapist by telephone to determine whether immediate assessment is critical and to screen patients prior to arrival at our clinic. We will gladly give you an appointment time in 2 weeks if it is a concern that can wait.
I would like to be crystal clear: we ask that you do not attend the Clinic if the following applies to your situation:
- You have been or suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19;
- You have returned from travel outside of Canada after March 1, 2020;
- You or anyone in your close social circle are ill;
- You are immuno-suppressed;
- There has been evidence that COVID-19 is more severe in people over age 65. If you are over age 65, please consider if in clinic treatment is CRITICAL to your health currently.
Over the next few days, we may yet have to make additional decisions that may change your care. Our promise to all of our patients is that we will not lose touch of you no matter what. We will be in contact in some way or form. We are working on a telehealth measure so that we can “see” you virtually face to face and provide needed advice when we are no longer able to do it hands on for you.
We may have to hit pause on the music, but for now it will continue playing with a lower volume.
Leading Edge Physiotherapists and our staff are aware of social shaming for people who are going into the public. Looking after your own health in order to reduce the burden on the medical system is essential to the pandemic response and for that you should not feel shame. We know that taking significant precautions both personally and professionally will help to stem the tide of this pandemic. We also know that being a health provider means that you are there when people need you. We are here for you until the Chief Medical Officer of Alberta tells us otherwise.
The following are the steps that we were already taking.
This is what we started doing over the past 3 weeks:
From the outset of this world event, Leading Edge has taken it very seriously. We know that the best thing that we can do to make sure our patients are cared for is to ensure that they have a safe environment to attend. That is why we stepped up our already advanced Infection Control Policy more than 2 weeks ago (the fact I am already a bit of a germaphobe has certainly helped). We are following all recommendations put forth by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer and we will continue to take sanitizing and disinfection to exceptional levels. To that end, it is very important to us that we make sure that you are aware of additional steps that we are taking. It is important that you feel confident and comfortable attending your visit with us. We are open for business and continuing to be Leading Edge in all aspects of our business.
So what else HAVE we been doing?
- We are being vigilant by staying up to date with the massive amount of information and we promise to respond rapidly to any recommendations made by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer. If you see one of us on our phones non stop it is not because we are obsessed or worried, it’s because we want to make sure we can be on the Leading Edge of this response. To be Leading Edge, we must be ready to act swiftly to changes suggested by experts in the field.
- Our physiotherapists and staff are being asked to maintain recommended social distancing among their community interactions (by keeping our staff healthy we can ensure you will stay healthy).
- We are asking patients to cancel and re-book in 14 days should they have recently (within the last month) traveled out of the country or if they have ANY sign of illness.
- We are hoping patients will tell us they have traveled or are ill but will be screening patients as well. Each patient will be asked whether they have traveled or have any sign of illness upon arrival to our clinics (please don’t be offended, we are doing this to protect one another).
- If you have a loved one at home who is ill, we ask that you avoid attending as well.
- We are using resources available to assist staff who remain home should they report any illness (this is to ensure that they are cared for best we can during these financially trying times and do not fear letting us know they are ill).
- We have already enacted a self isolating protocol for any of our staff who have reported illness (even a cold) or have traveled (even if they went to Hawaii).
- We are ensuring 1 meter separation between patients in keeping with recommendations of global containment policy.
- We are discontinuing cash payments to limit touch points in our facilities.
We are all in this together. If there are two things that I have a lot of faith in that is human kindness (love for one another) and science.
What can YOU do?
- Stay up to date but please don’t panic or be a part of the hysteria that this event is creating. The stress of these events can have health consequences as well.
- Follow the recommendations that Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, is sharing by clicking here. I believe that she is doing a wonderful job of sharing the facts, keeping people up to date and remaining a calming force during an alarming time.
- Thank front line medical workers. Too often we take them for granted and in these stressful times, we owe it to them to show kindness and appreciation.
- If you are struggling with your condition or pain, attend if you ARE well and have NOT traveled in the last month. Please keep your appointment. The world has not stopped and your pains are as important today as ever. We are a safe environment for you to attend & even if we don’t fix you today, we know we can make it better.
- Be healthy. You have heard that you need to wash your hands, avoid touching your face and try to avoid ANY crowds. We suggest that you also eat well, sleep well and practice mind healthy behaviors like meditation, reading or journal writing.
- Frequent a local business that may be hurting as a result of this crisis but keep a meter separation from others. I am sure they will be taking similar precautions as we are to protect you and the risk of failing businesses in Alberta is real.
If you are not sure whether you should attend one of our clinics:
Please take the TAKE THE ONLINE SELF ASSESSMENT prior to attending or cancelling an appointment.
As of March 15, 2020 – here is the update from the Alberta Government Website:
The Government of Alberta is leading the way and we are fully behind the strong leadership of our Medical System. I would like to personally thank everyone involved in the response to this event. Access to factual, timely and scientific information has helped guide us as practitioners, business people and human beings. Here is what they are presently sharing with Albertans:
COVID-19 Online Screening – Stop the Spread
Identifying and isolating people infected with COVID-19 is the only way to stop the spread. The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough or other cold or influenza-like symptoms. Use the online screening tool to determine whether you need to call 811 to get tested. If you are awaiting COVID-19 test results, please do not call Health Link. You will be called directly. It can take up to four days.
NOTE: You do not need to be tested for COVID-19 if in the past 14 days you have not traveled outside Canada or had contact with someone diagnosed as having COVID-19.
We appreciate you and look forward to continuing your care no matter the challenges. That’s what we do.
Sincerely, Grant Fedoruk