The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on the lives, health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities worldwide.
We have all had to adapt and take extra precautions like staying home, washing our hands more frequently, wearing masks, and keeping our distance from others when we need to go out.
However, one thing you shouldn’t do is put off important health care. During an outbreak, just as during other times, skipping therapy is risky and can lead to regression/complications. As time passes, children should be gaining new life skills. When therapy is halted, the child’s age progresses but their skills do not; making them fall further behind their same aged peers.
We know you probably have questions about getting therapy right now. Hopefully, we have some answers. You don’t have to delay your child’s health care; you can still make therapy appointments during the COVID-19 outbreak. As we have learned more about the coronavirus and how it spreads, we’ve implemented several new practices to help protect your family so you can continue to get safe, top-quality care.
Here are just some of our COVID-19 safety and security measures:
1. We have implemented Teletherapy
It is understandable why some families cannot risk having therapists come into their homes or risk going to a crowded clinic setting to receive their needed therapy. Some households have family members in higher risk categories (elderly or medically fragile). For all these reasons, or even if it is just your preference, Teletherapy might be the perfect answer. With Teletherapy, your child can stay safely at home and receive therapy services from a therapist in a remote location over the internet via video conference. Please see our Teletherapy page for more information.
2. Expert Training
Understanding how all diseases spread is one of the best ways to keep ourselves and others safe. Did you know that as part of receiving their licenses our therapists are trained about infectious diseases and how to control their spread? Additionally, SHBH provides annual infection control training. All staff must pass this training to continue to work for Small Hands, Big Hearts. Also, our Clinical Director has provided guidelines and protocols for our therapists to specifically respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
3. Extra cleaning and disinfection protocols
We know that the coronavirus and other germs can live on surfaces people touch. That is why we have added extra surface cleanings, disinfection, and safety protocols, in addition to our regular rigorous cleaning standards. This includes doors, lobbies, restrooms, waiting rooms, furniture, vents, equipment, and many more public and private spaces at our office in Bedford.
All our therapists are doing their part to keep their equipment sanitized. We have asked them to bring less into the homes and require them to disinfect supplies in between each in-home visit. Our therapists are well stocked with disinfectants and other cleaning supplies. We are going above and beyond to make sure we do not transmit this virus or any other infectious agent.
4. Wellness screenings prior to treatment
Keeping people with COVID-19 quarantined helps minimize the spread of the illness. To help ensure that no therapist showing signs of COVID-19 works that day, we have set up wellness screenings for all our therapists. Therapists perform daily self-screenings monitoring their temperatures and answer COVID symptom screening questions. We ask that all families report if any family members have temperatures or display symptoms of COVID. Our therapists will obtain temperatures from the patient and every family member present for the treatment session at the start of the visit. If our therapist notices any symptoms, we will not proceed with treatment to follow current standardized infection control precautions and procedures. We will educate the family to help them get the right care and explain the importance of isolation and contact tracing if they do test positive for the virus.
5. Mandatory masks or face coverings and other PPE
The CDC and our infectious disease experts recommend wearing masks or cloth face coverings to help limit the spread of the coronavirus. All our therapists are required to wear masks, and these have been provided to them from our agency. For your added safety and protection, we also ask that our patients and family wear masks or face coverings while we are present for the in-home visit. Our therapists have been provided with touchless thermometers, disposable shoe booties, disposable gowns, face shields, gloves, and surgical style masks. They also have medical n95 masks which will only be used with COVID-19 positive patients or those suspected of having COVID-19 awaiting test results.