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COVID-19 and the evolution of healthcare

With COVID-19 sweeping the world, it feels as though all aspects of life as we knew it have been impacted. Everything from how and when we shop, how we socialise, and espeically how we work, has had to change as we comply with social distancing rules in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and give our healthcare systems a chance to care for those who really need it. While some of you may still be classified as essential workers and are therefore still seeing your clients, many have had to shut shop in order to comply with new laws, as well as to protect themselves, their families, and their clients. 

As manual therapists, how do we care for our clients when we are socially distant? Yes, in normal situations we are all essential, helping the members of our community move better, function better, and feel better in their everyday lives. Seeing our clients face to face, and using the powerful tool of physical touch is how we achieve these goals. In these unusual times, how do we continue to serve our community, our clients, when we cannot physically be with them? 

We've gathered a list here, that is by no means exhaustive, as how we as therapists can keep moving forward during this pandemic.

1. STAY ON TARGET:  Now's the time to boost your continued professional development. Take the time to read, write, and study. Stay current so that when you can go back to work you are professionally fighting fit. Now's also a good time to work on your business model - do that work on your website that you've been meaning to do, write those blog articles, get ahead for your marketing campaigns. Make the most of this time in a positive way.

2. KEEP IN CONTACT WITH CLIENTS: Touch base with your clients via email or phone calls, especially for the more vulnerable. Remember they are isolated just as we are. We see some clients for up to an hour at a time, or more. We are a point of contact and that can be therapeutic in itself. You don't have to bombard your clients, and do remember professional boundaries, but keep in mind those whom this isolation will impact mentally as well as physically.

3. OFFER TELEHEATH SERVICES: Telehealth is something we probably haven't ever thought of as possible in our line of work, but it is now becoming a hot word in the news. It doesn't have to be fancy, depending on your client's technological access and abilities, programs such as SkypeGoogle Hangouts and Zoom are free and allow you to video call your clients and be "face to face" while still being socially distant. Other services are paid and offer a more complete clinical experience, such as Coviu. Choose what works for you and it could be used as a way of helping your clients to best help themselves during this period of isolation. 

4. CLIENT EDUCATION:   In light of offering telehealth services, some of our best help will come in the form of client education. Educate your clients within your scope of practice on self massage, trigger points, stretching and safe exercises for the home. Here are some links for self massage instructions for  Upper Body and  Lower Body lymphoedma for example. Products such as Fisiocrem and Silver Clove Balm aid in the relief of muscular aches and pains and can be used by your clients themselves. Reassure your clients of what they can do themselves and your professionalism and wisdom will ensure their trust in your abilities for the future. Just remember to always stay within your scope of practice, even though you are not seeing your client face to face.

We hope these ideas help you through these challenging times and we look forward to when we can all go back to serving the members of our community to our fullest.