Experts for years have been waiting for a pandemic to hit for over a decade. Epidemiologists have been saying for such a long time that the world isn’t ready for anything remotely like the Spanish Flu of 1918. Now that COVID-19 is here, we are fully aware that they were right. But what now?
Sure we can look back on the news and articles from the past few years and understand in hindsight we could have been more prepared. However, now that COVID-19 is here, we need to focus on what can be done now, as well as in the future. One thing that most of us will have to come to terms with is the fact that sanitizing, social distancing, as well as cleaning and disinfecting are our new normal.
The entire world is trying to keep up with how everything is changing on a daily basis. Maintaining your PT website while you’re feeling overwhelmed from Corona Virus is also a new challenge! All in all, it’s time to tell your clients that keeping up with the new normal is the best way to stay healthy, stay on top of their PT, as well as maintain good mental health. Here are some ways you can help your clients to face this ‘new normal’ head on!
Cleaning the Frequently Touched Items in Your Home
One of the major changes that most households and individuals will face is the cleaning and sanitizing of everyday “touched” things in their homes. This can be a wide variety of things, from light switches to refrigerator door handles. However, it is key to sanitize and clean these things on a regular basis. Especially when you have to leave your home.
The Center for Disease Control has issued several statements about cleaning and disinfecting your home. All of their measures are meant to help you keep from getting sick while the world battles a pandemic. Here are some of the things that you should be certain to knock of your sanitizing list while you are home in quarantine, or after you return home from being out:
- Common areas (Dining room table, kitchen counters, desktops, etc.)
- Hard-backed chairs
- Light switches
- Touch screens
- Remote controls
- Handles on cabinets and appliances
- Steering wheels
There are also several recommendations about how to handle clothing, food, as well as what to do if a person in your household gets sick. However, these are the primary areas of your home to clean regularly!
When it comes to your physical therapy clients, it’s important that they not only keep up with their PT at home, but it is also imperative that they keep any and all equipment sanitized! Simply take the time to present the information before their PT sessions that they should wipe down their machines and weights with a CDC certified disinfectant. Not only that, but also make the physical therapy easy for them to access. Keep your clients engaged, as well as offer them easy access at home with your online content!
Sanitizing and Washing Your Hands
As more and more people become aware that social distancing may be our new normal for a long time, it’s important that you emphasize to your clients and site visitors the importance of washing and sanitizing their hands! This can not only help to slow the rate at which virus is spread, but can also help prevent other illnesses.
After all, you never really notice how many times you go to touch your eyes, or your nose, or realize that that pen you’re holding has somehow nervously landed on your lips. One way to keep your clients healthy, and continuing with their physical therapy, is to remind them the benefits of washing their hands!
Masks, Gloves, and Protective Gear
Another important aspect of our new normal is the increased need of protective gear. Though you may not be able to find any medical grade protective gear anytime soon, masks, gloves, and other protective gear may be essential to slowing down the spread of the virus until there is a vaccine.
According to the World Health Organization, here are the steps for how to properly handle and wear a protective mask:
- Before putting the mask on your face, be certain to wash your hands for twenty seconds with soap and water. Or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Once your hands are washed, place the mask on your face. Be certain not to leave gaps between your face and the mask as much as possible!
- While the mask is on your face, it is imperative that you NOT TOUCH IT. If you do accidentally touch your face mask, be certain to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
- After your mask becomes damp (from moisture in your breath), it’s important to properly dispose of it. If at all possible, do not reuse a single-use mask.
- To take off your mask, be certain not to touch the front of it. Remove it from behind, then immediately dispose of the mask in a closed bin. Then wash your hands with soap and water, or hand-sanitizer.
Using a home-made mask, or a mask made from cloth will not only help to prevent unnecessary waste, but it will also change the way your PT clients “dispose” of the mask. If they are using a mask that is reusable, have them discard the filter within the mask as mentioned above. Then place the mask, only touching the strings or ear straps, into the laundry or washing machine immediately.
These steps for putting on and taking off your mask appropriately should be done every time you need to where your mask out in public! This means going to the grocery store, or to physical therapy. This may also be something they will need to implement for a long period of time.
Going into Physical Therapy During a Pandemic
One of the most drastic changes that will come in the next few months is the awareness that keeping up with these methods for staying healthy will have to stay in place! By washing your hands, wearing masks, and continuously cleaning and disinfecting our frequently touched items, you’re keeping yourself and others healthy!
Another thing to consider is communicating to your PT clients how you are actively trying to make changes and implement new standards during a pandemic. Eventually, more and more things around the world will reopen. This includes your physical therapy practice!
Your clients should not only feel comfortable coming back into the space, but they should be notified about the various steps you are taking to ensure their health and yours as well. After all, the overall PT experience should be positive, both online and off!
Be certain to write out the measures your facility is taking in detail so that your clients are very aware of how much you care about their safety, and the safety of your physical therapists. Here are a few ways you can notify every one of the measures you’re taking:
- In your weekly email blast
- On your website
- In the mail
- On a sign outside your facility
- Calling them beforehand
- Text, or email personally
Your clients should know that they are being taken care of while undergoing physical therapy. Not only will they appreciate the extra sanitation steps to keep them healthy, but they will also tell other people about how much care you are putting into keeping them safe!
Staying Up to Date
As the world fights off the Corona Virus pandemic, scientists and medical professionals will begin to learn more and more about how to fight this disease. In the coming months there may be more information regarding regulations on opening your physical therapy facility. Not to mention better, more efficient ways to keep your clients safe.
In order to find new ways to help your clients, both in their homes every day, and in your business, it’s incredibly important that you continue to educate yourself. Check with local authorities, as well as organizations like the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control, to find out about new guidelines!
Not only can you stay up to date on the latest news and guidelines, but it is also important to educate everyone who works for you, or visits your facility. They should be informed on the sanitation steps that are required of them, as well as the steps others are taking.
This can include anything from formal training of your physical therapists and employees, to posted notices of your sanitation practices. After all, the new normal is definitely going to include staying up to date on how to help against Corona Virus.
The New Normal for Your PT Website and You!
Not only will you need to update your physical therapy website regularly to keep up with the latest on COVID-19, but you will also need to help your clients maintain this new normal. Whether it’s helping them stay informed on the steps your taking in your facility, or making sure they are aware of healthy handwashing guidelines, every little thing helps. You can keep your clients engaged online, as well as at home, by helping them with these health guidelines and their physical therapy.
Yes, the new normal for our immediate future will mean lots of sanitation, and lots of disinfecting. However, it’s the steps we take today that can help to maintain our future! Telling your readers that sanitizing and over cleaning are our new normal is just the start. This is a great time to take advantage of quarantine and find new ways to help your clients both at home and in your facility!