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Level 1 Guidance

Guidance on seeing patients at Alert Level 1 (non DHB setting)

Updated 21 September 2020

Please note this guide is a living document and will be updated as information from the Ministry of Health is released during the Alert Level changes. Please check both this document and the Ministry of Health website regularly for updates and changes.

 

Introduction

This guidance document is based on the Ministry of Health’s Alert Level 1 Guidance for Community Allied Health Professionals and applies mainly to physiotherapists working outside of the DHBs. Please adjust the guidance to suit your working environment whether it be clinic or community based and check regularly for updates on the Board and Ministry of Health websites.

While much of the information contained may be useful to those working in DHB’s, please check with your manager if you are a DHB physiotherapist as protocols and procedures may vary between organisations.

Physiotherapy clinics and services are open for routine face-to-face consultations under Alert Level 1, however protocols should be maintained by physiotherapists and services to maximise patient and staff safety, including ongoing risk assessment and appropriate infection prevention control procedures.

 

Overarching Requirements at Alert Level 1

Physiotherapists must:

  • be aware that under Alert Level 1, there is no local community transmission of Covid-19 however, we may have cases in the future.
  • have knowledge of and understand the most current Health and Safety procedures, and the latest advice from Ministry of Health
  • consider their own safety and that of their own bubble whānau as well as the patient’s safety
  • carry out a risk assessment and have a plan in place for the premises they are working in whether that be in a clinic or the community. Risk assessment during Alert Level 1 should be ongoing and continuous.

 

Physiotherapists should:

  • screen patients for COVID-19 signs or symptoms and carry out a risk assessment questionnaire when making the appointment and again on arrival. If they are deemed to be a risk, do not allow them into the clinic or see them in the community until they have medical clearance. Consider using telehealth services
  • have an MoH COVID app/ QR code in place for their premises and encourage it’s use
  • also maintain a log of all patient, visitor and staff contacts in case contact tracing is required
  • adapt their working practises to allow enough time between appointments to carry out necessary duties including cleaning equipment, surfaces and their own hands before another patient is brought into the treatment room
  • still carefully assess the risks and benefits of a face-to-face consultation if patients are 70 years of age or over or have significant co-morbidities or vulnerabilities. Consider using telehealth services as an alternative.

 

Appendix 1: General practise guidance

Appendix 1: General practise guidance

Screening

Screening or risk assessment of patients prior to face-to-face consultations is recommended and clinical judgement used if the patient has any symptoms to either be referred for medical clearance or consider telehealth services

The principle is: if you are sick stay home, get tested and wait for a negative result.

Further guidance on how to screen patients can be found here

Clinic log and contact tracing records

Physiotherapists and clinics should continue keeping their own current and accurate record of each patient whom they have seen face-to-face. This includes their full name, phone number, address, arrival and departure time. If there is a support person with them, their details are also recorded. This information may be used to aid contact tracing, if it is later required.

What to do if your workplace has a suspected case of COVID-19

If a staff member, patient or visitor becomes a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case and has been at your premises or seen in the community while potentially infectious there are standard processes that will be followed. Please click here for more information.

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