COVID-19 (Coronavirus) protocols for massage therapy
Plan for Return to Clinical Practice in Respect of Covid-19
This plan was developed with the goal of reducing the risk of exposure to the virus that causes Covid-19 for both patients and the practitioner within our practical setting. Here, we identify the actions that the therapists at RMT Whistler commits to, and that all patients must commit to, in order to resume massage therapy services.
“Coronavirus is transmitted via liquid droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. The virus can enter through these droplets through the eyes, nose or throat if you are in close contact.
The virus is not known to be airborne (e.g. transmitted through the particles floating in the air) and it is not something that comes in through the skin.
It can be spread by touch if a person has used their hands to cover their mouth or nose when they cough. That’s why we recommend you cough or sneeze into your arm and wash your hands regularly.”
The overall aim of these protocols is to reduce potential coronavirus transmission by:
- Required ongoing self-assessment for signs of Covid-19 related illness in both the patient and the therapist
- Hand hygiene requirements
- Avoiding face touching
- Enhanced cleaning protocols
- Appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Meeting professional obligations, particularly related to informed consent and liability insurance
SELF-ASSESSMENT FOR SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19: FOR PATIENTS
PRE-SCREENING / PRIOR TO APPOINTMENT
- 24hrs prior to each appointment the booking software will send a Covid-19 specific pre-screen assessment and consent form that is to be filled out before each appointment that will be require electronic signature
- If you do not fill in the appropriate form you will be contacted by the RMT in order for the appointment to proceed.
SELF-ASSESSMENT FOR SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19: FOR RMT
PRE-SCREENING / PRIOR TO APPOINTMENT
- The therapist will use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment tool herself, daily and commits to canceling all appointments if symptoms appear. The RMT will keep a daily self assessment log.
- Symptoms of Covid-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses and seasonal allergies. An appointment must be cancelled immediately if either the patient or the therapist presents with even mild symptoms that may be signs of Covid-19
- Covid-19 Symptoms may range from mild to severe. Patients are required to cancel appointments if they experience what they determine to be ‘just the sniffles,’ ‘seasonal allergies’ or ‘just feeling under the weather,’ on the day of their appointment.
- As a part of this consent form, patients must commit to understanding that while we’ve taken all possible measures to minimize risk of viral transmission, the nature of massage therapy means that physical distancing is not possible during the massage.
- In order for massage therapy treatment to commence the therapist and patient must agree that the therapeutic benefit of massage therapy outweighs any potential consequence of treatment, including the possibility of viral transmission.
- Patients who develop even mild illness or symptoms should cancel booked appointments, even without notice.
- They will not be charged a late cancellation fee if they cancel due to illness.
- The therapist will wash hands thoroughly for at least 20 prior to treating and patients and before donning or doffing facemasks or other PPE.
- We ask that prior to treatment the client also performs thorough hand hygiene.
AVOID FACE TOUCHING
- The therapist will communicate with the patient that coronavirus can be transmitted by touch if droplets are on the hand when it touches the face, as it can transfer those infected droplets to the mouth, nose or eyes.
- All surfaces will be cleaned followed by disinfection with a Canada Health Approved for use against Covid-19.
- All linens, including blankets and pillow cases are single use only and will be laundered using high heat, detergent and bleach between each use and transported in a washable bag.
- All product containers will also be single use.
- Massage tables will not be transported between locations without thorough cleaning and disinfecting between appointments. At this time we ask that if you have a table in your home that you allow us to use it for your appointment to minimize equipment transport.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
- The therapist will wear a single use face mask if requested by the patient.
- If the therapist requests a patient wear a mask one will be provided for them. If it is the patients preference to wear a mask we ask they provide their own or can obtain one from the RMT for a small fee to cover costs.
- The therapist will wear non-latex gloves if/when appropriate.
- Cash will not be accepted at this time.
- Direct billing is encouraged, if this is not an option an invoice will be sent to you to be due upon receipt.
- Receipts will be emailed, not printed.
IN THE EVENT THAT A PATIENT ALLEGES THEY CAUGHT COVID-19 FROM THE THERAPIST
- The therapist will immediately call public health at 8-1-1 to report the alleged transmission, providing both the name of the RMT and the name and contact details of the patient.
- The patient must agree to the release of this information in order to receive treatment.
- All massage therapy appointments will be cancelled and the Therapist will cease to provide services until Public Health has investigated and provided direction.
- The therapist will immediately self-isolate until Public Health has investigated and provided direction.
- Asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus is an unavoidable risk of practice until we’ve acquired herd immunity, there is an effective treatment or vaccine against Covid-19.
- We have put into place protocols to help mitigate that risk as outlined in the preceding documentation.
In the current environment of Covid-19 risk, informed consent requires that the patient be informed and understands that:
- Any massage therapy treatment involves some risk of Covid-19 transmission;
- The therapist is following protocol to help reduce or mitigate risk where possible, but that risk cannot be reduced to zero;
- The patient consents to the treatment despite some risk;
- And the RMT will document the patient’s consent in advance and at every treatment.