ANNOUNCING THE COMMENCEMENT OF MY ‘PANDEMIC FRIENDLY’ ACUPUNCTURE PRACTICE
There were two main reasons I decided to suspend my acupuncture practice on 23 March, 2020:
- the most important was client and practitioner wellbeing:
- back in March Queensland’s rate of infection was exponential and I felt ill-equipped to offer a safe treatment space (in terms of avoiding potential cross-infection); and
- economic – as the government was asking us to avoid contact, people, rightly, were staying home, and working from home, and not coming for appointments.
I found myself in a position many businesses found themselves in – significantly reduced income and no change to my outgoings/expenses.
Without adequate cash flow I risked going belly-up and I had no intention of doing that.
Sadly, the clinic at New Farm – not owned by me – has become a casualty of the changing economic situation and has had to permanently close.
The solutions to those initial challenges…
To solve those initial challenges, I have been required to make a significant change to my practice.
To address the potential financial stressors in the coming months, I have decided to convert a section of my home into a clinic.
I live just off the freeway at Greenslopes – access is easy.
For those preferring public transport – or coming after work – the 120 bus runs rights past the house and the Greenslopes busway station (SE busway) is just across the road. Each stop is about 450m from the clinic/house.
There is ample, on-street parking (unlike New Farm which, I know, could be really challenging at times).
While it’s just over 4km to the city, it’s a lovely, quiet spot.
If making the trip to Greenslopes is not possible for you, and you would like to continue having acupuncture, I’ll be happy to provide you with some names of practitioners who I know will take good care of you. Please be in touch.
The clinic space has easy access and is level to the ground. There will be one treatment room, one consult/herbs room and a bathroom.
There isn’t a reception so waiting in the car is best (and I’ll come and get you) or there will be a chair outside. With physical distancing measures in place, I need to avoid people crossing paths (see below for more on this).
I have had to make some renovations which has delayed my return-to-work by a couple of weeks, but the wait will be worth it. Here is a sneak peek.
The second challenge this change addresses is my ability to confidently and appropriately manage hygiene and reduce risk during the pandemic.
How will my treatment experience be different?
The most important thing to remember is EVERYTHING about how I will work in the future is about working SAFELY while we’re living with a (suppressed) viral pandemic.
It’s corny, but it is ‘the new normal’.
Before you attend your appointment
- self-assess: are you experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms?
- other flu-like symptoms (sore throat, sneezing, nasal congestion)
- have you been in contact with anyone who may have been exposed to the corona virus and is currently awaiting test results or has been formally diagnosed?
- if you answered yes to any of the above please call (not text or email) the clinic in advance of your appointment.
- During the corona virus pandemic acupuncture will not be administered to clients who appear sick with acute onset respiratory signs and symptoms; the alternative is a Tele-health appointment where herbs will be prescribed.
- If you are unwell and have to cancel your acupuncture session after the usual cut-off time, you will not be charged provided you call and we discuss your situation. Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation.
- each time you get your SMS/email reminder for your appointment you’ll be prompted to a self-assessment checklist on my blog just to make sure you’re OK to attend.
When you arrive at the clinic…
- please park close to the house and wait in your car or on the footpath – I will come and get you (to minimise you coming into contact with another person)
- before you enter the clinic I, with your consent, will ‘triage’ you:
- I will take your temperature on the forehead with an infrared thermometer
- I will ask whether you are experiencing any ‘flu-like signs or symptoms (if you do your acupuncture treatment cannot proceed)
- I will ask whether you have been in contact with anyone who believes they have been exposed to corona virus, have positively tested for corona virus or may be awaiting the results of a corona virus test. (Depending on relative risk, your acupuncture treatment may not proceed in this situation).
- If you do not consent to the above process, I will not be able to work with you on that day. You will still be required to pay for your treatment as you will be reminded of this process in your appointment reminder.
- the outcomes of that triage will be noted in your consultation notes.
When you enter the clinic
- hand cleaning: you will be asked to sanitise your hands with hand sanitiser (or, if you’d prefer, hot soapy water is available).
- physical distancing: we will be seated a minimum of 1.5m apart during the consultation. This might feel a bit weird, at first, but it’s what we have to do to reduce risk of cross-infection.
- personal protective equipment (PPE): I will wear a mask during the consultation.
- to minimise the risk of cross-infection, I will now only see one client at a time
- this means I will not be moving between two clients, across two rooms (reducing the risk of cross-infection)
- the treatment table will have fresh linen with each client
- the treatment table, door knobs and other points of contact will be disinfected between each client with high grade disinfectant called Viraclean which is used in hospitals, shown to kill corona virus
- I will wear a mask and gloves while conducting the treatment. You are not required to wear a mask, but you are welcome to wear one if that makes you more comfortable. You can bring your own or I will have them for sale, at a small fee to cover costs as they are so expensive to buy at the moment ($2.20 each)
- all the other, usual hygiene measures – like swabbing the skin before acupuncture etc – remain unchanged
- to minimise the risk of cross-infection, I will now only see one client at a time
- social distancing: during the treatment, one-on-one contact will be reduced to a minimum, however, I will be just in the next room, you will have a bell to ring should you require me and I will check on you to ensure your ongoing comfort.
Administrative things that will be different…
- online bookings: as I am only working with one treatment table, scheduling is easier and online bookings will be available for your convenience (or you can call on the usual number)
- due to only offering one client/session, I can no longer see couples together (in two rooms) and after hours appointments will be offered four nights/week (previously two nights/week) so there is sufficient availability
- I would ask that if you don’t specifically need after-hours appointments, that you choose slots through the day so those after-hours slots are available for those who need them
- social distancing between appointments: to reduce the risk of clients passing each other, and to allow time for the cleaning and disinfection regime between clients, all appointments will have a 30 minute buffer between them
- contactless payment: this clinic will not have an EFTPOS machine – a great harbinger of disease if ever there was one. Payments will be processed online at the time of your appointment or using the ‘Square’ app which accepts EFTPOS, Visa, MasterCard and American Express
- private health funds: you will still be able to claim for your acupuncture consults with your private health provider. However, this will be done via a new facility called HiCaps Go (online, rather than a machine). Not all funds are signed up to HiCaps Go so if that is the case you’ll be required to pay the full fee and I can issue you with a receipt to claim independently.
- fees: by and large the fees remain unchanged with one exception being all follow-up appointments are now $98.00
If you made it this far….
… congratulations. I realise this has been a long read.
But, it’s an important read. The corona virus pandemic has transformed how we live our lives and, on a personal level, it has wreaked havoc for my 15+ year old business.
I’ve been out of action longer than I’d hoped, but these next few weeks will see me back, in a much sleeker, operation but offering the same level of expert care, I hope, you’ve come to expect from me.
I look forward to sharing the new clinic with you very soon. Thanks for your patience and please, be in touch, if you have any questions or concerns.
And here is the Google map link:
(07) 3367 1150
And here is the online booking link: