Coming out of Lockdown – We’ve got to do what?
Some time ago, I had quite a few online meetings with some competitor clinics to discuss what we were required to do as we re-opened and returned to face-to-face sessions. This is one of the silver linings of the whole COVID thing, competitors sitting down over a virtual cup of tea and working together. Rather good I thought!
Anyway, we chatted through various challenges we had to overcome in order to open safely and abide by the Local Authority requirements. Then there were the various Professional Associations that our therapists are members of to consider. As we talked these things through, more and more came to light. But a plan did begin to develop.
Some of the clinic owners I talked to, such as Shelley at the Fairford Therapy Centre, were well ahead of us in their risk assessment, whilst others hadn’t even begun to think about it, but soon began to as news spread about what we had to do.
Over the following weeks, my to-do list began to increase in a way that I found ridiculous. But, with the help of our clinic manager, we began to get things sorted. Such as, removing towels and replacing with paper towels; closing the kitchen down; advising therapists and clients to bring their own bottled water; explaining to therapists how they could open our front door; let the client come into a small porch way by stepping back and letting the client close the front door; how we’d have the next two doors jarred open; ordering two more doorstops for the doors; take magazines out of reception…or anything else that could transmit the virus, etc, etc!
The point of removing anything that could transmit the virus was interesting. Some of you will remember the Generation Game where you had to recall everything going along on a conveyor belt – well this was similar, looking but not necessarily seeing things that have been there for the last 6 years that we should be removing! You’d think it would have been easy…wouldn’t you?
We also had a hand sanitiser put up on the wall in the waiting area. It’s a shame the clinic owner (i.e. me) mistakenly ordered soap rather than gel for the dispenser. Luckily, when my sister went in to put the window display up that she’d produced for me (another item on the to-do list as we need to inform the public of how we’re adhering to the requirements), she sanitised her hands and let me know quite quickly that her hands were ‘foaming’ and weren’t going to get sorted without a tap and water! Mmm, back to the drawing board on that one then – gel now arrived!
We ended up with a 4-page risk assessment report which I thought was very comprehensive. But when I emailed it out to all our therapists, yes, you’ve guessed it, one of the therapists spotted something we’d missed, and so it evolved even further.
We also need to re-assure clients that we’ve taken the steps to help minimise risk, so we came up with a letter detailing this, that the therapists can send to clients in advance of their appointments.
We are now open! Admittedly it’s on an appointment-only basis and we only have two of our six therapy rooms open to minimise footfall.
My strong view is that talking therapists will be able to go back to face-to-face sessions at the beginning of July, if everything goes well. Even then face-to-face sessions will only be for essential treatments. Non-essential will have to stay online to help keep control of the virus until we’re told otherwise.
Physical therapists, such as Physiotherapists and Osteopaths, can already see people, but again, only for essential treatments. One reason for this is to help reduce admissions into hospitals and help clients recover from surgery so they’re not re-admitted.
I’ve sometimes felt, over the last few weeks leading up to our re-opening, like Arkwright from Open All Hours. I’d arrive at the end of the day, flop down into the sofa and say to hubby, “Well, it’s been an interesting day”. Not quite knowing what was going to hit the next morning! But we’re getting there.
To all our therapists and clients, past, present and future, thank you for supporting us. As with all local businesses, some of which have been unfortunate not to survive, we need your support in order to be there for you in the future.
Nicola Griffiths runs Cirencester Hypnotherapy & Health Centre, now both online and from 84 Dyer Street! www.cirencesterhypnotherapycentre.co.uk