As lockdown measures are slowly being relaxed, we are now beginning to see more of our patients as routine. We still, however, need to be vigilant and follow the procedures that we have adopted (below) for some time to come. Crucially above all else, this ought to be done carefully so as to protect your health and well-being plus that of your household.
We must also be cautious, as some of our patients may decide to take a trip abroad, so you will need to remember to ask the questions of whether they have been anywhere outside the UK and where that was. Some countries are included in the travel corridors, some are not.
- If you are in a particularly vulnerable group or have been contacted by the Government as one of those that must continue to self-isolate for a minimum period of 12 weeks, then we strongly urge to refrain from providing any physical treatments.
- If you provide services to a residential home, you MUST liaise with the home to ensure you can work within their plans and policies that protect the residents.
The sufficiently reduced spread of the pandemic in the community allows for the easing of the most stringent social distancing measures. So the potential risk to your customers is rather lower although issues that could become apparent with their feet may rather rise. Accordingly, clinical judgements on whom to treat and when, ought still to be made based upon:
At this time, we urge planning to return to more clinical practice. Over the next couple of months, the NHS are seeking to get many of their services back up to normal and have indicated planning to deliver service; based on urgency of care needed – not just emergency. Hence, planning to tend to the needs of the most urgent and pressing cases first and gradually working towards those less urgent, would be appropriate. This is paramount now since the Prime Minister indicated that stricter social distancing measures could be re-introduced on the re-proliferation of the virus.
The patient's needs ought to be established via telephone consultation first; running through screening questions related to their general health, potential infection/symptoms of COVID-19 and any current foot problems.
The other main consideration necessary at this time relates to safe working practices; including both the working environment and personal protective equipment (PPE). Accordingly, we are issuing the following advice in conjunction with advice from Public Health England (PPE and Work Safely)
Pre-screening of all patients over the phone to ascertain whether attending to them is safe, required and possible (i.e. a problem likely to be out of scope should be arranged remotely to minimise the number of people necessary to sort out their problem).
While not possible to fully socially distance during treatment, we are fortunate to work at the distal end of the patient's body and are typically over a metre away from their upper body. Thus, risk of transmission is relatively low in comparison to other health and care profession contexts. Outside of the treatment moments, a distance of over two metres should be maintained between everyone from different households.
All listed PPE items are available through Podiacare®. Please note that due to current supply chain issues it may not be possible for Podiacare® to immediately supply all the listed items but are working very hard to ensure their availability. Please remain in touch with Podiacare® for your supplies.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me and please do continue to keep safe and well.
This illustration was created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).