COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic
Updated September 23rd 2020
A letter received from the Chief Allied Health Officer has shown there will a slight relaxing of the requirements for treatment from the 28th September.
The 3 criteria are:
- to prevent a significant deterioration in functional independence which would result in an escalation of care needs (such as increased frequency in treatment, significant increase in pain, specialist input, or substantial increase in recovery time as a result of delayed care)
- for assessment and diagnostic purposes for those people whose care has been delayed during stage 4 restrictions, and where further delay likely to result in deterioration (e.g. diagnostic imaging and assessment for prescription of assistive technology)
- to provide essential pre-operative or post-operative elective surgery care
The biggest difference is the ’emergency only’ element appears to have been removed, which is good news.
So according to these new criteria, if you are experiencing pain (mental or physical in my opinion) that you feel will get worse without treatment, then treatment is allowed. Similarly too if treatment NOW will prevent you more needing more treatment later, then treatment is allowed.
If you were unable to book in for initial appointment during Stage 4 – then you can book in now so we can assess your situation if you feel you will deteriorate further without it.
As before, it appears ‘routine’ treatment is still not allowed, but if you feel your symptoms have worsened without treatment, then it is no longer ‘routine’ and now falls under the first dot point.
As stated below, bookings will need to be made over the phone, no online bookings at this time.
Update September 8th 2020
As announced by the Victorian Premier on Sunday night, the stage 4 lockdown will be extended for 2 weeks along with a roadmap of reopening. Under this current roadmap, the clinic will not be able to operate as normal until Stage 2, around November. Whilst very frustrating, this is how it is.
The clinic was technically still able to operate under stage 4, but in a limited capacity, because of this and the rising case numbers at the time, I decided to close the clinic for 6 weeks.
The clinic will be reopening from Monday September 14th but it won’t be ‘business as usual’.
The guidelines for Stage 4 operation by the DHHS say we can:
“provide services that prevent a significant change/deterioration in functional independence necessitating escalation of care- resulting in an increase of care needs”
What this means is if you have been suffering a deterioration in your physical/mental symptoms then treatment is appropriate.
To me this interprets as:
- your level of pain has increased to the point it is affecting you ability to function, ie: back/neck pain causing severe headaches or sciatica affecting your ability to walk and perform daily chores etc.
- Your mental health has suffered resulting in a reduced ability to function in daily life or care for your family etc.
- digestive symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea or pain are affecting your ability to work and perform daily chores.
Under these guidelines we cannot provide:
- Maintenance and preventative treatment (even though this is the backbone of all forms of medicine).
- Any treatment related to supporting IVF/fertility related symptoms.
- Treatment related to low level pain (it isn’t impeding your ability to function in daily life).
There is a common sense element to all this, but we also need to objectively and honestly assess your symptoms to determine if treatment is absolutely necessary at this time.
The reasoning for this is to avoid face-to-face interaction as much as possible, and only doing so when necessary. After all, the only way this virus spreads is by people interacting.
Online bookings will not be available during this time, as each appointment will need to be assessed over the phone, to ensure compliance with these guidelines. Remember, the 5km rule does not apply to seeking healthcare, but we do want to avoid unnecessary travel when possible.
On top of the existing increased infection control/screening I’ve employed since the pandemic started, additional steps during stage 4 include:
- use of face shield as well as surgical mask
- patients will be required to wait in their car until their appointment time. I will then SMS when you can come up to the clinic.
- Patients should attend their appointments on their own, partners or carers will need to wait in their car unless absolutely necessary.
- appointments will be further staggered to reduce the chances of patients being in close proximity to one another.
- contactless payment will be the preferred method of payment.
- Keep patient interaction to an absolute minimum and physically distance whenever possible.
- all patients will receive a booking email or SMS to use as proof for travel if needed for a Police check.
If you have an questions or wish to make a booking, please call the clinic on 9796 2388.
Current as of July 21st 2020
With everyone having done such a good job with the lockdowns, restrictions can slowly ease, and life can regain some semblance of normality. We can’t become complacent though, the virus is still out there and we all need to work together to be COVIDsafe.
The ONLY source of information you should refer to and trust is what is being put forth on the Governments Health Depart website. They providing daily and weekly updates on the virus, its spread, epidemiology and best preventative measures.
Though I will be repeating much of what is on that page, the importance of it cannot be understated.
If you meet their criteria of overseas travel, close contact with a confirmed case, or are showing symptoms you MUST self isolate. Call your GP or the hotline on 1800 675 398 and they will best advise you on getting tested.
In cases like this, it is always better to be safe than sorry, so if you are unsure or concerned, consider self-isolating.
Can I still come for Acupuncture?
YES! Chinese Medicine is a part of Allied Health and is classed as an Essential Service. I have kept the clinic open since the beginning, with additional infection control measures in place.
The Superclinic downstairs IS NOT a fever clinic. They too are NOT allowing any suspected COVID-19 cases to enter. There is a clear path to the elevator and through the upstairs reception to my suite where you can travel without close contact with other people.
As stated, if you meet any of the criteria above, you should not attend the clinic and self isolate. Otherwise the clinic will be running as usual. I am taking additional preventative measures such as:
- All clients are required to wear a face mask to their appointments in line with the DHHS recommendations
- additional cleaning of surfaces before and after clients
- Keeping clients separated by reducing patient load and time spent in the waiting room
- Main reception is also screening everyone as they come off the elevator
- Hand sanitiser is available at reception as is required to be used upon entry/exit of the clinic
- keeping a distance from clients as much as possible
- using more single use cleaning items to prevent contamination
- Using more PPE when necessary (P2 mask, gloves etc)
- Forehead temperature checks at each consultation
Why is there so much concern about the spread of COVID-19?
The main concerns is around the fact that this is a new virus, so no one has any immunity to it, which means it can spread very easily and quickly. This is a concept that is very foreign to most of us because we have all grown up around colds and flu viruses. They are mutations though of the same viruses which most of us have already been exposed to at some point, so we should have some basic immunity to them. This is because our body’s recognises the DNA in the virus and attacks it. COVID19 came from an animal, which means our body doesn’t recognise it as its completely new. This is what makes it so dangerous.
Coronaviruses are respiratory viruses, so they go straight for your lungs, which can lead to viral pneumonia in severe cases. In most of us though, we will just experience mild symptoms such as cough and fever.
The other side to that is there is no vaccine or treatment specifically for it yet, so this makes containing the spread all the more important. We need to reduce the strain that will occur or our hospitals to ensure they can cope with the high patient load, and everyone receives the appropriate care they need.
Basic Hygiene Is very important (WASH YOUR HANDS!!)
Many people don’t realise but outbreaks like the Spanish flu and Black Plague were not defeated by some magic medicine invented at the time. Basic hygiene practices and social isolation are what saved the day. It should serve us well here too.
- Hand-washing is key – either with soap or an alochol wash. Both will kill any virus on your skin.
- Cleaning of surfaces that have been exposed to infection – the virus spreads via droplets, from coughing and sneezing. So if a door knob has been sneezed on, the virus could still be there days later.
- Cough or sneeze into your arm – again, if you cough on your hand and then touch someone or a surface, you could transmit the infection.
- Keep a distance when away from home – the transmission range of the droplets is believed to be under 2m, so keep your distance from anyone when out in public to prevent transmission.
Though none of these practices are prefect, they will make a marked difference in the potential for the virus to spread. To be honest, these sort of practices should be employed anytime you are sick or during flu season.