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4 Aug 2020

Back to Work! Advice and resources for staying safe (and legal)

It’s 2 weeks since we were given the go-ahead as therapists to go back to work.

How are you feeling? Have you chosen to go back yet? Or are you waiting it out a little longer?

I’ve spoken to many of you who have started working again, but I also know not everyone feels safe to be in close proximity with clients at the moment. If you’ve not gone back yet – it’s ok! We should do what feels right to us.

If you are starting to work again, the guidelines around working safely are a bit of a minefield – mainly as there are so many grey areas. The government guidelines have left many things open to individual interpretation, which makes it hard to always know what best practice should be.

With that in mind, here’s some links to advice and resources to help you navigate getting back to work safely and legally:

Government Guidelines

The government official guidelines should be our first port of call when we are redesigning our Covid-safe treatments and protocols.

Professional associations and other organisations have sifted through the vague wording and compiled more comprehensive back-to-practice guidance. However please be aware that these are ALL based on the government official guidelines and these could change at a moment’s notice. Please make sure you stay abreast of any changes by checking the government page regularly.

Your insurance will also only be valid if you are complying with government guidelines.

If in doubt about something, first read the government guidelines, interpret what that means for you and your business and then check with your insurer. Ultimately you will be making your own decisions around many things, but whatever you decide you will need to record your protocols based on your own risk assessment and be able to justify your decisions.

Also, please note these are the MINIMUM hygiene standards you need to uphold. You can, if you choose, take further precautions (such as taking client’s temperature when they arrive or wearing a mask AND a visor), if it makes you and your clients feel safer.

You will also need to check with your local council and health authority for any local restrictions.

Professional Associations

If you are member of a professional association, they will have contacted you with their own interpretation of the new best practices for going back to work.

Please note that none of the PA’s are providing you with regulatory rules,  It is merely guidance to help you gain clarity and confidence to go back to practice, but it does not override the advice of your Local Public Health Authority or the government.

Further resources

Here are some further resources, which you may like to use:

The first is from the GCMT (The Council for Soft Tissue Therapies – which is the forum where Professional Associations who represent massage and soft tissue therapies can come together to discuss and resolve industry issues.)
They have provided a really thorough resource to help us get ready to return to work.

It includes checklists and guidance on communications with clients and helps you work out things you’ll need to put into practice in order to work safely once we are allowed to.
http://www.gcmt.org.uk/documents/GCMT-Resource-Pack-A-Return-to-Work-June-2020.pdf

Also useful is the Back To Practice Guidelines from the CPNT (Association of Physical and Natural Therapists)
https://apnt.org/covid-19/?fbclid=IwAR0mobqWhigvEAz63zycJz5GiBMlwVfUkMMrq7iUE7sajig9A7Ta5tOIAY4

The Government have also released this new resource – Early Outbreak Management Workplace Action Cards –  a printable sheet detailing what business owners, managers and operators need to do if you are informed of more than one confirmed case of Covid-19 of someone who has been present at your workplace.

There is a Zip folder to download. Within the ZIP folder you’ll find several Action Cards. Download all and then open the one entitiled: Consumer Workplaces. This has info relating to Spas, sports and massage therapy, wellbeing and holistic centres.

Covid Health and Safety Course

And finally, I’ve been getting asked if I can recommend any of the free courses that are floating around for therapists regarding Health and Safety and infection prevention for Covid-19.

So in the name of research I’ve taken a few of them – and this is the one I can recommend most highly:

It’s a free course created by ThinkTree Hub.

I particularly like it as it’s not just a re-design of a standard infection-prevention course, but it also gives therapists an understanding of current legislation around Covid-19

It also provides advice on how to communicate this with clients, along with checklists and reviews for your clinic

This course can help you to think about things you need to put in place, ways we need to communicate with our clients, Things to think about in terms of GDPR, and where to look for the most up-to-date guidance.

Plus our clients will like to see that we’re up-to-date with our health and safety knowledge.

https://thinktreehub.teachable.com/p/preparing-to-return-to

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I hope this is helpful to you. It’s all about not allowing yourself to get overwhelmed. Just take everything one step at a time and figure out a strategy that is safe and works for you and your practice.

And don’t feel pressured to go back yet if you don’t feel ready. As my Bowen teacher says,
” Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD!”

Do what feels right for you.

And as always if you have any questions about this, comment below and I’ll see if I can help.

Also, if you haven’t already, do “LIKE” the Orchid Massage Academy Facebook page and join the Orchid Massage Academy Therapists Facebook Group so that you can receive updates, ask questions, support each other and be part of the community.

Take care and stay well,

Much love,

Nikki x

 

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