From the outset, physical therapy clinics have been considered essential businesses during the pandemic. However, when New York City was first struggling with the coronavirus we determined that it was unwise and unsafe to remain open and perhaps risk adding to the burden on the healthcare system. Instead, we made good use of telehealth for those that still needed physical therapy.
With the number of new cases declining and the hospital system in a better place we have decided to begin a limited reopening of our in-clinic services. The safety of our patients and our employees is paramount, so we wanted to detail how we plan to keep you safe should you decide to come to our clinic.
We created this plan by consulting several expert public health guidelines including those of the CDC, the NYC Department of Health, the American Physical Therapy Association, and the New York Physical Therapy Association.
How will we identify possibly sick patients before they enter our clinic?
- We will send patients automatic appointment reminders with a list of symptoms. By confirming your appointment you will be confirming that you do not exhibit the symptoms listed and aren’t sick before each appointment.
- We will meet you in the building lobby and ask a series of screening questions to determine if you might be sick.
- We will check your temperature with a non-contact infrared thermometer. Temperature must be below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius.
- We will cancel your appointment if you show signs of being sick. We can always do an online visit instead.
- We will waive your cancellation fee if either you or we cancel your appointment because you feel sick or might be sick.
- All of our employees will complete the same screening before starting each day to ensure they aren’t sick.
How will we keep you safe when you’re in our clinic?
- We will have plenty of hand sanitizer and facial tissues available.
- We will continue to wash our hands between every patient encounter.
- We will insist that you wash your hands immediately upon entering our clinic.
- We will continue to sanitize the treatment tables with virucidal cleaner between each patient.
- We will wear masks and gloves, and change gloves between every patient.
- All patients will be required to bring and wear their own mask. We cannot allow you to enter if you don’t have a mask. Unfortunately, because of supply shortages we cannot provide masks for our patients.
- Appointments will still be 45 minutes long, but we’ve added 15 minutes between each appointment to allow time for cleaning.
- We will clean all of the treatment surfaces, the waiting area, the dressing area, and any items and equipment that were used. Our pillows have plastic coverings that will be cleaned each time and they will be covered with a clean towel or pillow case.
- We ask that patients try to change and leave within 10 minutes of the end of their appointment so the next patient may enter 5 minutes early. Similarly, patients will not be allowed to enter more than 5 minutes before their appointment time to allow the previous patient time to change and leave. It’s recommended that patients arrive already wearing their workout clothes.
- We will stagger our appointment start times by 30 minutes so that patients will not be in the waiting room or dressing area at the same time as another person.
- We will only have two physical therapists working at a time. One will work in the front treatment room, and the other will work in the gym area to ensure the most separation between patients.
- We will not re-use elastic exercise bands. We will give each patient their own and encourage them to bring it with them for each appointment.
- All paperwork can be done online so you avoid touching high-contact objects like pens and clipboards.
- We will encourage the use of contactless pay methods like Apple Pay, but we will also sanitize our payment tablet between each use.
We look forward to seeing you again in our clinic! We will also continue to provide online physical therapy visits to those who want them.