COVID-19 & Return to Work
Last Saved: Tue, 12/Aug/2020
Should you be massaging your clients?
In Victoria, NO!
Elsewhere, maybe yes...maybe no. There is little about this COVID-19 Pandemic that is certain so there is no universally applicable way forward. As the COVID-19 Restrictions ease and tighten like the breathing of an awesome beast, OML cannot longer give you a firm yes or no...but here are a few key points for you to consider:
Be informed - follow the current advice of the Health Department in your State/Territory jurisdiction, especially where your jurisdiction is in relation to the 3-Step Framework for a COVIDSafe Australia
Be careful and methodical - more patience now means less COVID-19 patients in the future - there are no prizes for being the first to open your practice, nor are there any prizes for being the last - take all reasonable steps to ensure your safety and the safety of your clients
Go back to the basics - you have all studied rigorous hygiene and infection control in your certificates, diplomas and degrees - you have all successfully practised effective hygiene protocols prior to COVID-19 - from now on, assume that every client you will see is COVID-19 positive but asymptomatic, and review and where necessary update and implement your hygiene protocols accordingly
Embrace ambiguity - everyone has a different back-story so don’t be judgmental either way - if, when and how you open your practice depends on many uniquely personal factors - your appetite for risk, whose advice you trust, where you live, your age and state of health, your clients’ age and state of health, and your financial circumstances
Be comfortable - do what you think is correct for you and your clients, and when you have done your best, rest easy
Finally, I think Virginia Trioli captured the situation pretty well in her Weekend Reads on 2/May/2020
While that always-fragile national coalition crumbles around us, and the Feds argue with the States about who really knows whether schools are safe for kids and teachers, and States start to go their own way on social distancing, we sit at home clutching our pandemic puppies wondering who we should believe. I don't know what to tell you because paradoxically, while all we can rely on is evidence, peer-reviewed data (and there's not much of that) and facts, the truth of our situation is that we know so little about this virus, it's effects, and what else it might to do us long term. The enemy of good policy is certainty right now, because there is so much we don't know.
Draft Letter to Clients for Return to Work
If you are looking for help, here is a great example of a Return to Work Letter penned by one of our most experienced OM4 Graduates and Course Facilitators, Kate Butler:
I will be re-opening my massage practice each Tuesday and Wednesday beginning xx/Jun/2020 from 8.30am to 5.00pm. And I will be prioritising clients whose appointments were postponed at the time of lock down.
Expert advice states that risk is increased with interpersonal proximity as well as duration of exposure. Massage is in a high-risk category as it involves skin-to-skin contact and the average length of a treatment is an hour plus at least 15 minutes either side. In order to work safely, I have put together a range of measures listed below that will be mandatory until further notice to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission. This is particularly important for those who are immune-suppressed.
Firstly, you will be asked if you have:
- Tested positive for COVID-19
- Experienced cold or flu-like symptoms (fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose)
- Been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19
- Recently returned from overseas travel.
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, or if I am developing any symptoms as above, your appointment will be postponed to a later date.
At my practice, I will:
- Exercise strict hand hygiene before and after each massage
- Wear a new surgical mask for each massage session
- Change the linen after each client
- Wear a garment over my clothing that will be changed before each massage session
- Wipe down every surface (EFTPOS machine, furniture, oil bottle etc) with disinfectant after each massage
- Wash my overgarments and all linen in hot water at the end of each day.
At my practice, you will be required to:
- Bring only essential items into the treatment room
- Sanitise your hands before entering the treatment room
- Use only furniture that is able to be wiped down with disinfectant
- Put on a light-weight surgical mask before you enter the treatment room and for the duration of the treatment.
Unfortunately, due to the added expenses - purchase of personal protective equipment, increased cleaning & disinfecting, and hot water washing - I have found it necessary to increase my fees to $xx per hour.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we adapt to these new patterns of working together. Please call me if you have any questions.