Update on Osteopaths Practicing at the Sunflower Centre at this Stage in the Pandemic
Social distancing measures have posed a particular challenge to healthcare practitioners whose work involves physical contact. Until now, where circumstances are practical, osteopaths have been able to continue to assess and treat those whose acute symptoms might otherwise lead them to seek assistance within the stretched GP and hospital services.
So far during the lockdown, Aidan Spencer through implementing a comprehensive hygiene protocol has been providing a limited face-to-face service to those in ‘urgent' need. Regular and effective hand washing has been key as has the exclusion of anyone presenting mild symptoms.
The relaxing of the lockdown measures in England has opened up the possibility of treating more people than those classified as having ‘urgent’ or ‘emergency’ issues. As such osteopathic provision will resume again slowly from Monday 1st June and an infection prevention and control protocol will lead the way with decisions around who, as well as how many people, we can begin to treat.
The big learning for us is to assume that anyone who visits us could potentially be pre-symptomatic and therefore shedding the virus, leading to the implementation of a clear infection control protocol to reduce the risk of transmission from patient to osteopath (and vice versa) and from patient to patient.
We will initially speak with you by telephone to establish:
- that you don’t have Covid-19 symptoms;
- that you’ve not been in contact with someone who either has symptoms or anyone with someone who is self-isolating/shielding/in an identified vulnerable group in order to conduct a risk/benefit assessment of a face-to-face attendance should this be felt necessary;
- at times it may be decided that some advice and/or exercises will suffice and we are currently offering this free of charge.
Some things are not achievable by phone or video consultations and as life begins to open back up, sensible hygiene measures can go a long way towards enabling us to minimise the risk whilst returning to our hands on work when this is needed.
What measures we have in place
Our professional bodies have given clear guidance on recommendations for best practice for all osteopaths when working face-to-face. Given that it’s impossible to adhere to the two metre social distance rule during osteopathic treatment, we want you to assured of the measures we have in place to meet what’s required of us to reduce/control infection transmission which include:
- Effective/practical distance:
- ensuring that only two visitors are in the waiting room at any one time, giving sufficient social distance between people in that space;
- we’ve furloughed our staff and they will not be returning to work at reception/management duties for the time being;
- we have increased the distance between the chairs in the consulting room;
- as the practice gets busier there will be further waiting areas in rooms 2 and 3 to maintain the required safe distancing;
- we will stagger the start/end times of the practitioners working in the building so that visitors don’t unnecessarily encounter others.
- Effective sanitisation & infection control
- the osteopath will wash their hands and forearms thoroughly between sessions;
- hand sanitiser will be available as you enter the building (this takes around a minute to be effective, so please bear that in mind when touching surfaces straight after you’ve used it);
- there will be a cushion of time between patients allowing the osteopath to carry out the necessary infection control measures;
- sanitisation of the clinic building between patient visits to minimise the risk of transmission, including wiping down plinths, chairs, door handles, WC when used, card payment machine when used, handrails and frequently touched areas where necessary;
- use plastic pillow covers for a week and then dispose of them;
- use single-use nitrile gloves and wash hands/forearms regularly, including around donning and doffing masks, aprons, gloves;
- wear either single use waterproof aprons or single use items of clothing that get laundered at the end of the day on at least a 60’ wash;
- ventilate rooms for 20 minutes between patients to reduce viral load where someone is infected but asymptomatic.
- Continual risk assessment and reduction
- if you’re a new patient, we may conduct the case history over the telephone before you arrive (in the previous 24 hours) in order to reduce the time spent inside the building;
- bookings will be spaced out more in order to effectively carry out the sterilisation between patients;
- we will be mindful of reducing the possibility of visitors encountering each other in the hallways where it will be more difficult to give space to each other;
- on the ground and first floor there are ‘sluice’ rooms (rooms 2 and 3) which aren’t in operation - these can be used as ‘passing places’ and/or as alternative seating areas;
- we will ensure that any other practitioners offering therapies at the centre notify us if either they have any Covid-19 symptoms, or have been in contact with anyone who has
- if one of the osteopaths develops symptoms within seven days of treating you, we will contact you to let you know.
- What we ask of you:
- to go through a pre-screening telephone call or WhatsApp message conversation with us the day before your appointment;
- let us know if you or anyone in your household have had any symptoms of Covid-19 within the last seven days before your appointment;
- bring as little with you as possible;
- if you drive to the centre for your appointment, please wait in your car until the time that you are due so that you don’t unnecessarily encounter other patients/clients in the building;
- immediately on entering the building, please wash your hands thoroughly;
- let us know if you have any condition such as asthma or hayfever that might lead to increased droplet transmission (whereupon we will give you a mask to wear also).
We fully understand the nervousness that many are feeling as discussions around easing the lock down gather pace; we hope the cautiousness that this nurtures will help protect those who are vulnerable and reduce their exclusion from the outside world.
We’re also aware that there have been many different experiences of the lockdown of recent months; maybe you’ve been through significant hardship these last weeks, you may even have locked down early because of living with a vulnerable relative. You may have been living on your own and felt very lonely; you might have even lost someone to the virus. Perhaps you’ve been extremely stretched managing your children’s engagement with their school curriculum alongside your own workload - or has it been a blissful time where you’ve been furloughed and have enjoyed the freedom and rest that this time has offered?
Whatever your experience, we look forward to hearing your story and seeing how what we have to offer can support you to continue to adjust to this new normal and help alleviate what’s happened or built up for you since not being able to access manual therapy.
Joanna Mitchell DO
The best way to get in touch is by email to email@example.com - giving a brief description of why you’d like to be seen as well as the best number to get back to you on.
You could also leave a message on our usual number and one of our osteopaths will be in touch - 020 8694 2714 - but it will take a little longer to process your enquiry.
Osteopathy at the Sunflower Centre in Brockley, SE4
There has been a core of Registered Osteopaths working from this lovely practice since the early 1990s; the Sunflower Centre was set up as a multi-disciplinary complementary health centre in 2006 and has continued to grow in reputation and scope since that time. Many people we treat live within walking distance, however we serve a much wider community than Brockley, with people coming from near the river Thames, down to Bromley, Croydon, across to Brixton and including Blackheath (SE3) and Greenwich (SE10).
Training, Experience, Patient Care and Convenience
The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) is the statutory body that regulates Osteopathy under the Osteopaths Act 1993. All practicing osteopaths have undergone a four year full time training covering anatomy, physiology, pathology, clinical skills and tests and osteopathic technique. We also undergo a long period of supervised clinical hours before graduating. As such we can be considered to be positioned within the Primary Care Field.
The four Sunflower Centre osteopaths have over 70 years' experience between them. Please note that due to the changes in osteopathic practice in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, James Britton has chosen to take 'non-practicing' status. We'll update you on when he returns to full practicing status as we know more.
Patient care is at the heart of what we do and how we think.