|Many physical therapy practices have struggled with the question of whether or not to stay open due to the contribution they may have on the rise of the infection curve. However, the US Department of Homeland Security has listed Physical Therapy as essential infrastructure workers indicating that it is our duty to continue to care for our patient’s physical therapy needs during this time of crisis. The guidance from the Homeland Security memorandum states that:|
If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as health care services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.
Therefore, Atlanta PT will reopen for business starting Monday, March 30th 2020. We will be adhering to strict sanitary guidelines recommended by the CDC. Here is the list of the measures we are putting in place so that you may feel comfortable with the limited exposure you would have at Atlanta PT. Our goal is to have each patient only come in contact with their therapist, and no one else, greatly minimizing risk of exposure. Here is a list on how we are attempting to achieve this:
1. On the day of your visit, please arrive only 5 minutes ahead of your scheduled time. If you arrive early, we request that you wait in your car until that time.
2. When you enter the clinic, you will go to the front desk for payment and temperature reading. If using a credit card, our front office staff will hold the credit card machine and you will insert and remove your card. This way you will not touch the credit card reader and no one touches your card. The front office will then read your temperature with an ear thermometer.
3. You will then proceed to the restroom where you will wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. After this, your therapist should be waiting on you to take you back for your session. If there is a delay for any reason, you can sit in the waiting room but we ask that you remain 6 feet away from anyone else that may have entered the waiting room.
4. Your PT session will be conducted entirely in a private treatment room. There may be a few exceptions for patients that need to use equipment in open areas, but our goal is to keep everyone contained in their therapist’s room.
5. For your safety, each therapist will be donning scrubs after they enter the clinic. These uniforms will be laundered in the clinic each day, and we feel this is just another precaution to take as there is some uncertainty which surfaces the virus could live on. We will of course be sanitizing each room after every visit, as well as wiping down doorknobs and surfaces throughout the clinic routinely each day.
The health and well being of patients and employees is extremely important to me, and I hope you will all find some comfort in the level of precautions we are taking. I believe that we have put good precautions in place to mitigate the risk of exposure, but there is always a risk. Here is the information given by the CDC regarding the risk of COVID-19. If you fall into one of these high risk categories, that does not prevent you from coming to your physical therapy appointment . However, I want you to be well educated on who is at risk so that you can make a responsible decision on whether or not leaving the house is safe for you.
COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on available information to date, those at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:
1. People aged 65 years and older
2. People who live in nursing home or long term care facility
3. Other high risk conditions could include:
chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, people who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment, and people of any age with severe obesity (body mass index > 40) or certain underlying medical conditions, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease
4. People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with several viral illnesses, however, to date on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk
We will be restricting patients from coming into the clinic if they fall into a few certain categories. These are the following:
1. Health care practitioners that have come in direct contact with patients infected with COVID-19
2. Health care practitioners that work in facilities that house patients infected with COVID-19 even if there is not a direct exposure.
3. Patients who have traveled outside of the United States, or to cities within the US that have high infection rates such as NYC in the past 14 days. Please make our office aware of any travel through airports in the last 14 days so that we can determine the risk.
If you fall into one of these categories and are able to quarantine for 14 days without emerging symptoms, you would then be eligible to come in for your physical therapy sessions.
Use caution and stay well!
Mari Smith, PT, DPT
Owner of Atlanta PT