As of May 11th 2020 the restrictions are starting to ease. Thank goodness! This has been a long 7 weeks of the unknown. I had hoped that I would have joined the NHS frontline by now, but despite all the planning and the predictions the NHS didn't get overwhelmed. This is a great thing, lockdown worked. Our little struggles, and personal losses over the last 7 weeks have meant we have made society as safe as possible and the NHS has survived as best as it could. I haven't been needed. Tough for me, great for them.
But now is the time to start being hopeful. Its time to cross our fingers and start planning ways and means of getting back to work. I don't like not working, to the point where I have considered finding a fruit picking job to pass the time. I still might if my optimism is just that.
I have been reading all the guidelines, the advice and COVID-19 Secure advice. The whole time I have found everything quite confusing being a healthcare professional but not in the NHS. It has been advised for us all to in every case go 'Virtual First' . Offer all patients virtual appointment, which quite frankly i don't want to do . I want to see my patients, be able to correct technique and offer hands on therapy. Its just not likely that will be possible for a very long time. So Virtual World, here I come.!
I have been busy creating documentation to show risk assessments for COVID-19, purchasing PPE and finding work around options that allow for social distancing. Change is not easy, but its time to try it.
I have chosen the 1st June 2020 as my return to work date. It probably won't be very busy but I'm ok with it. I will see what happens.
I'll keep you posted on how this will work over the coming weeks. In the meantime, stay safe, stay home, stay well.
Following Monday's announcement by BoJo and the inevitable closure of my business I, like so many others are trying to stay entertained during self isolation.
Honestly, it hasn't been so bad so far but I'm only 2 days into it! Thankfully I am lucky enough to have a garden, the weather has been glorious and I can for the moment find plenty of little jobs to keep me busy.
As promised my application to join the local NHS hospital was sent on Monday but so far I haven't heard back. They might be a little busy, don't you think?! To try and get my head back into the game I have cracked open my old books . Time to refresh those Respiratory Physiotherapy skills. They haven't been totally forgotten, I have to use the basics quite often in my Community Rehabilitation role but its the really serious stuff I'm trying to remember.
I thought it might be interesting, for those who don't know, what kind of stuff I might need to know when faced with COVID-19 patients.
It has been well broadcast by the NHS, Government and every media platform that COVID-19 gives you a cough and a temperature. Not much for me to worry about there, if you can still cough, keep coughing, if you have a temperature take medication etc (advised by the doctors) to get it down. For the majority that will be Paracetamol, hence why it is being panic bought throughout the country.
Its the people 4-6 days into a more severe case of COVID-19 that we need to worry about because they have Pneumonia. Pneumonia is a dangerous chest infection. The area of infected lung cannot work properly, the alveoli (where gas exchange happens) are filled up with sputum so oxygen cannot get into the lungs and carbon-dioxide can't get out. If this continues for too long your body can't get enough oxygen to the major organs and that's why you get really poorly ... organ damage or sepsis (full body infection) with septic shock leading to death if unresolved. Two outcomes that Doctors need to fix with medical intervention.
The role of a Physiotherapist is to help get rid of the build up of sputum in the lungs. Ideally this is by encouraging a patient to cough and spit out the sputum. Sorry if you're a bit squeamish, you may want to stop reading now.
Physiotherapists can use lots of different techniques to make you cough or move the sputum out of the lungs. The first as I said is encouraging you to keep coughing. A cough is the body's own mechanism of moving sputum up out of the airways. Physiotherapists are trained to use special pieces of equipment that help create a cough, force more air into the lungs to try to open up the airways around the sputum build up to then make it move, and/or can perform suction. They can use suction catheters to help pull/ suck the sputum up and out of the way. Generally not very pleasant for the patient, the catheter will go into the lungs either through their throat or nose. Alongside these special bits of equipment we use manual techniques on peoples chests- vibrations are the most common.
The whole point is the sticky infectious sputum stuck in the bottom of the lungs needs to get out of the lungs. If that doesn't happen the poor individual literally drowns in their own sputum.
Sorry to end on a very morbid note. But its helpful to teach something you are trying to learn (again).
Stay safe, stay indoors and enjoy your hour of exercise outdoors everyone.
Today has been pretty emotional to be honest. I made the hard decision last night to close Flexible Physio for the foreseeable future and I did not sleep well afterwards. Yes it took a big weight off my shoulders in some sense. I now know that I am not putting my wonderful clients at risk, I also know that I won't stop wondering how they are getting on. Genuinely I look forward to seeing them, I have gotten to know them all so well.
I thought I should explain what the deciding factors were for me, as a healthcare professional, because I have put in as many measures as I could to minimise infection risk.
1. The number of cases has continued to rise, and the type of people getting severely ill seems to be changing. Its not only the older population, or those with pre-existing health conditions anymore. Don't get me wrong, its terrible that anyone dies from it but at least that demographic was easy to understand as "at risk/ vulnerable". But there are now young professionals, otherwise deemed fit and healthy who are very unwell. There are horror stories of parents being in ICU on ventilators days after watching their kids' final assembly.
This means we are all at risk now.
2. The CSP and NHS guidance was a bit unclear about who/what should be treated, basically it just said ideally treat everyone remotely, but if you can risk assess a face to face appointment go ahead. Now the guidelines say treat everyone remotely, and only urgent cases to have face to face care.
Its easy for any of us to think that being in pain makes physiotherapy 'urgent', because we help reduce pain. Or somebody struggling to walk having physiotherapy to improve this could be urgent. Fundamentally its about improving quality of life, but is it worth putting your life on the line for? My belief is NO. NO it is not that bad if you are in pain, yeah it sucks but today I say take some painkillers, have a bath, rest, keep doing your exercises. You don't need a massage, or mobilisation, or acupuncture , stay at home.
3. People aren't taking social distancing seriously enough. Minimising contact with everyone else means that a virus cannot be passed between individuals. This means you shouldn't be heading out to the shops or the park to see your friends.
Being outside doesn't mean you somehow get an anti-virus shield on you.
4. If you touch the swings, open a shop door, pick up 2 boxes of biscuits and then put one back on the shelf, you have opened yourself up to being in contact with Coronavirus. You've then taken it home. Unless you wash your hands, change your clothes and have a shower chances are you may have come into contact with it and let it stay in your home. That virus can survive for 72hours on most surfaces. Please be sensible, take every precaution you can to keep the outside world out, and your home environment safe.
I hope you are staying well and following the rules as much as possible. Because the quicker we do, the quicker we get control, and the quicker we go back to normal.
Take care all
I think its time to pause Flexible Physio.
Having kept a close eye on the number of cases over the weekend, and seeing if we (the general public) have mastered social distancing enough to slow down the infection rate I think its time to do my bit .
After building Flexible Physio up from nothing 3 years ago I am sad to say its time to temporarily stop going to see my clients.
I am a passionate member of the healthcare service, having started my career in the NHS I have seen and worked in tough times and I cannot honestly say that I am helping to lighten their burden now. Its time to leave my physio bed at home for the time being.
However, I have no intention having a long "unemployed- self-employed" status. It may have been 6 years since I last put on a Tunic but I will be applying to join my local hospital's staff to do my bit helping those poor individuals who have Coronavirus, and anyone else who needs me.
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay positive. Ta Ra for now, I will be back
What a week?! These are unprecedented times with extreme public health measures being put in place. In just 2 days we have gone from simple measures to protect our most vulnerable members of the community, to school closures and today ALL hospitality/ leisure sector closures.
I will be honest 2 weeks ago I wasn't too worried, today this is serious. I am monitoring the government advice , NHS and CSP websites constantly so that I know what the advice is for me and my clients.
I am cancelling appointments with clients I deem most at risk even to opening the door to me and letting me in their home. I have implemented deep cleaning protocols for all of my equipment, including my car.
Any person who I go to see, before I touch anything in your home I will be washing my hands. I even have soap and paper towel in my bag if you don't have something for me to use. I have invested in more gloves and disposable aprons to use with those clients who require much closer contact during their treatment. Trust me, I am taking your health and well being seriously.
I will continue to monitor the situation and if it appears that I need to stop visiting you, I will. If you have any questions/ concerns please get in touch.
Stay well, stay safe, stay positive
Keeping you updated with what my thoughts are, infection control measures etc