If you had told me two months ago that I was not going to see another patient for at least eight weeks and asked me to imagine a scenario to explain this, I would have assumed I was either going to break an arm, get a life changing diagnosis or win the lottery and be half way through a Round the World Cruise! Never would I have imagined this situation we all find ourselves in. Well of course I wouldn’t ….as we keep being told, we are living in unprecedented times!
Unprecedented times they may be, but for most of us life (albeit adapted) still goes on and life still happens to us, which means that once we osteopaths get the green light to offer face to face consultations again there will be many, many people wanting to get help for their backs, necks, shoulders etc., some of which will be new since lock down and many of which will be chronic continuations of a pain or ache that was being treated beforehand.
We are not quite there yet but I wanted to reassure you that there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes by the General Osteopathic Council and the Institute of Osteopathy to have us prepared for when the time is right. We are learning how we can adapt our practices to minimize the risk of infection so as to be able to conduct a treatment as safely as possible and within government guidelines, bearing in mind that social distancing during an osteopathic treatment is just not possible.
It is likely that osteopaths will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in some form and that treatment times will be spread further apart so that patients do not have to sit together in a waiting room. Spacing out treatment times will also enable the osteopath to wipe all surfaces clean between patients. Unfortunately we shall probably have to remove the warm and comfortable linen covers on the pillowcases and the couch to enable them to be spray cleaned between patients and there will be much hand washing and hand sanitizing throughout for both the osteopath and the patient.
We are developing a pre- consultation screening to ensure no-one who may be harbouring the virus enters the building and in some cases there may need to be a telephone or video consultation prior to the appointment to reduce the amount of face to face time necessary.
It all sounds daunting at the moment but with a little co-operation and empathy I am confident that it will very quickly fall into place and despite the temporary changes we are having to make, we will once again be able to concentrate on delivering the best osteopathic care for our patients that we can, as has always been the case.
On a lighter note, following is an ‘Acrostic Poem’ (I had to look that up!) written by my furloughed daughter in honour of the ‘Wokingham Osteopath,’ on the subject of Lock down. I hope it inspires you!
An Acrostic Poem for The Wokingham Osteopath
by Kiera Gilbey (furloughed event organizer).
We are living our lives in ways we never expected.
Ordinary tasks are feeling like a distant memory.
Keeping busy has become the challenge we were once too busy to prepare for, but
Isolation and lock down are demanding we give it a go!
Now is the time to prioritise what before you could not:
Gaining new skills, growing new plants, a glass of wine in the garden before dinner!
Have you allowed yourself to look for the positives in all this?
Admittedly I struggled at first, but what a waste that would be,
My health, my family, my mind and my community deserve better than that.
Of course, this is unrealistic for every day,
Stress and suffering is inevitable for all of us to some extent.
Today may seem never ending, or tomorrow a daunting prospect,
Even the idea of ‘self-improvement’ might put you in a bad mood!
Organising the kitchen cupboards or learning a language might sound more effort than they are worth…
Perhaps re-evaluate what ‘self-improvement’ could mean for you?
A dance in the kitchen while cooking the dinner ticks the box for me!
Try that recipe you’ve been meaning to try, or discover whether you like podcasts,
Happier times are coming, but in some ways, they are already here.