Screening Clients for Scheduling During COVID-19

By Don McCann, MA, LMT, LMHC, CSETT

The COVID-19 virus is real. It is worse than the flu because in my lifetime we never had a flu epidemic where bodies were being put in refrigerator trucks and ice rinks. The COVID-19 is new to us, and more is not known than is known as to the features of the virus and how it will mutate. We can hope that the mutations of this virus will be that it weakens, but we’d be extremely foolish to bank on that, and not approach the future with what we presently know about the virus – that it is deadly. Governors across the country are looking to reopen their states, put people back to work, and have a working economy. In Georgia they are already agreeing to opening massage therapy offices and keeping social distancing. This points out that governors are not massage therapists and don’t truly comprehend what we do. What is happening in Georgia is a precursor to what is going to eventually happen nationwide. Massage therapists will be able to return to doing massages. Now is the time to start looking at how our world will have changed. The COVID-19 virus will not have gone away entirely.

Before we even schedule our first client we need to look at how to create policies and safety that not only guarantee our safety but that of our clients. Above all else we need to do no harm. Don’t wait until the governors say it is okay to start opening your practice. Now is the time to sit down, either by yourself or with your staff, and develop policies and procedures that will protect everyone. It will be too late if you start to book clients before you have developed the policies to keep you both safe.

In the future you will once again be booking clients, because at some point you will be reopening your practice. One of the first tools you will need for booking clients is a way to evaluate their overall health and risk factors for COVID-19. Developing a questionnaire that the client answers to determine their appropriateness for coming in for treatment is the first step. This questionnaire should start with an explanation of how you are protecting the client, yourself, and other clients by screening people.

For example:

Due to how highly contagious COVID-19 is and that some people have minor or no symptoms it is necessary to do risk assessment to protect you and all the clients that will be coming for massage treatments.

Follow this with:

  • Have you or anyone in your household come into contact with anyone displaying symptoms or testing positive for COVID-19 within the last 30 days?

  • Have you or anyone in your household traveled outside the country or outside your own city to an area that is considered a “hot spot” within the last 30 days?

  • Have you or anyone in your household exhibited COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 30 days?

  • Have you or anyone in your household experienced the following symptoms in the last 30 days:

Dry cough

Nausea

Fever

Back pain

Abdominal discomfort or cramping

Loss of smell

Atrial Fibrillation

Pneumonia

Shortness of breath

Sore throat

Body aches (myalgia)

Chills

Stuffy nose

Fatigue

  • If you have experienced any of the above we need to further explore your health as they can be symptoms of COVID-19. They can also be normal aches and pains or body reactions to things other than COVID-19 so we need to discuss each of them to determine your risk factors.

  • How do you sanitize yourself when you go out?

Do you wear a face mask?

How often do you wash your hands?

What do you use to sanitize?

  • In order to ensure that it is safe for you to be worked on we will ask to take your temperature upon your arrival at the office. This will be a requirement for you to receive a session. If you agree and your temperature is normal we can proceed with the screening process prior to your session. If your temperature is not normal it will be determined that it is not appropriate for you to be worked on at that time and you will need to reschedule at an appropriate time.

  • A copy of this screening will be put in your file that will verify that you were scheduled only after satisfactorily answering these questions.

The above information will be made into a screening form that we will be using in our office, and we will make it available to you if you would like a copy. Just let us know. You can go over with your clients in the process of determining the appropriateness of making their appointments.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article including recommended dosages, specific supplements or suggested products is for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. Please contact your healthcare provider before following any of these recommendations.

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