Updated 18th August 2020

The global and Australian response plan to COVID-19 is constantly evolving. As such our policy and procedures will be continuously updated as guided by our parent body the Australian Physiotherapy Association, The World Health Organisation and the Australian Department of Health. We will advise you of any changes in our procedures. 

TM Physio remains committed to maintaining the highest standards of infection control while still providing our essential high quality physiotherapy services. Our priority is and always will be the safety of our staff and our patients attending our clinic. 

TM Physio has implemented additional clinic procedures in relation to the COVID-19 virus as guided by the Australian Physiotherapy Association, these include; 

  • All staff at TM physio have been involved in discussion to form a plan of action and all staff are aware of the procedures in place. We will continue to inform staff of updated procedures accordingly.  
  • All clinical and non-clinical staff have a good understanding of infection control principles and been directed to complete the following training module; https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covid-19-infection-control-training 
  • All staff have been informed of and know the signs of the coronavirus and remain vigilant. Staff are encouraged to continuously monitor themselves and their families, their patients and any community contacts they may encounter.  
  • Information posters have been placed in the clinic. Including Hand hygiene for visitors, Hand hygiene for staff, COVID-19 alert, Know the signs and Stop the spread 

Before attendance 

TM Physio requests you DO NOT ATTEND our clinics for period of 14 days or medically cleared if you answer YES to any of the following three questions 

  • Have you returned from Victoria, NSW hotspots, overseas in the past 14 days?  
  • Have you had contact with a person with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19? 
  • Are you experiencing cold/flu like symptoms such as fever, cough, breathing difficulties, sore throat? 

If you do need to reschedule your appointment, please call our reception staff as soon as possible so that we can find a suitable time to continue your treatment. We will: 

  • Offer an alternative method of conducting the appointment (telehealth or Telephone) 
  • If unable to conduct the appointment in an alternative way reschedule their clinic appointment for as soon as possible after the 14 day self isolation period.
  • Remind patients if they develop respiratory symptoms or fever to call their local GP for further guidance. 

During attendance 

TM Physio has implemented a screening system to identify at risk patients in the clinic waiting room. This includes waiting room posters and asking patients at reception whether they have returned from COVID hotspot areas less than 14 days ago or have had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 while infectious. If you meet the above criteria; 

a) Asymptomatic patients – if you meet the above criteria but do not report any respiratory symptoms or fever: 

  • We will reschedule your consultations until after the 14 self-isolation period. 

b) Symptomatic Patients- if you meet the above criteria and report symptoms,  

  • We will immediately issue the patient with a mask and taken into an isolated room or outside the clinic. The patient will be directed to call their local GP for further guidance and remind them for the urgent need to self isolate. 

Additional Sanitisation Procedures 

TM Physio always has a high standard hygiene policy all year round but in light of the current increased public health risks with COVID-19 we have taken extra measures; 

  • Hand sanitisers at the reception counters and we ask our patients wash hands on entry and exit of our practices. 
  • Increased frequency of cleaning of higher contact areas with appropriate cleaning solution (door handles, seat arms, bench tops, and gym equipment) https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/environmental-cleaning-and-disinfection-principles-for-covid-19.pdf. 
  • Minimising number of patients in the waiting room with appropriately spaced chairs. We respectfully ask that only essential family members or carers attend with your appointment.
  • Although not recommended in the healthy population to prevent the spread of COVID-19 we can provide a face mask if requested. Please note there is a limited supply in the world and they should be preserved for symptomatic patients or workers dealing with symptomatic patients. Further guidance on the use of surgical masks can be found at www.health.gov.au/covid19-health-professionals. Should staff or patients choose to wear a face mask during their appointment they will be supported in this decision. 

How can we individually help prevent the spread of COVID-19?  

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:  

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet.
  • cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and  
  • reduce close contact with others (touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact). Keeping 1.5m distance in public environments or as advised by the Department of Health 

Can TM Physio refuse treatment of patients who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 ? 

It is in everyone’s interest to screen any patients or staff for potential COVID-19 infection including physical symptoms and recent travel overseas. 

On the basis of this screen, you may request a patient delay attendance for 14 days or, until no longer symptomatic. For further information, we recommend reviewing the guidelines found in the AHPRA Code of Conduct for Registered Health Practitioners Section 2.4, page 4. 

What will TM Physio do if there is a patient or employee with a suspected case of COVID-19? 

Follow the guidelines supplied by the Department of Health, fact Sheet for information with dealing suspected coronavirus cases. https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/interim-advice-on-non-inpatient-care-of-persons-with-suspected-or-confirmed-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-including-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.pdf 

Or call the National Coronavirus helpline on 1800 020 080 for the most recent advice. 

We thank you for your assistance with helping to keep the community safe and healthy.  

This document is based on the current advice and policies from the Australian Physiotherapy Association, The World Health Organisation and the Department of Health. These procedures are subject to change and updates will be provided to staff. 

References:

  • Australian Physiotherapy Association Website: https://australian.physio/coronavirus.   
  • The World Health Organisation Website: www.who.int.  
  • Australian Government Department of Health Website: www.health.gov.au.