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 Skype, Google
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
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.