The coronavirus pandemic pretty much altered every aspect of normal, from conducting business to how people interact with each other.
Increased sanitation, virtual meetings, work from home, social distancing are among those included in the list of “new normal.”
So what if social distancing or telehealth is out of the question?
Say for instance, chiropractors.
How are they adapting their treatments and keeping themselves and their patients safe?
Vincent Joseph, a doctor of chiropractic and acupuncture and co-owner at Rebound Chiropractic & Acupuncture, said the three chiropractic clinics in the group were open the entire time.
He is also the chairman of the Hampton Roads Quality Medical Affairs Committee working with a group of four Bon Secours hospitals daily.
“We knew it was coming,” he said. “We were already cleaning everything because of the flu season. “We just had to step up what were already doing.”
More than a month ago the patient volume was down 65 percent, so Joseph had to shift some of his employees part-time. After receiving a payroll loan, he was able to transition them back to full-time.
While the number of patients frequently has increased, there are others who have not yet returned.
“Our seniors are still having difficulty coming with good reason,” he said.
Telehealth is not popular in the chiropractic care since there is a focus on physical touch and healing but Joseph said he has been giving home care advice through telehealth.
He recommends people to go for walks since the virus is extremely vulnerable to sunlight.
“The elderly people really need to keep moving,” he added.
At each of the Rebound clinics, patient appointments are staggered to avoid the use of the waiting room, according to Rebound Chiropractic’s flyer. Staff disinfect the table after each patient and use hand sanitizer before each patient. Furniture, door handles and other high touch points are disinfected, too.
Every treatment room has an ultra-violet air purifier and all the buildings are equipped with air filters, Joseph said.
“Well, we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing,” he said.
Joseph said he uses polyurethane, a waterproof and grease proof substance, on his hands, something he compared to putting wax on a car, reapplying it every hour.
“Auto mechanics use it so they don’t get the grease in their fingernails. It’s like an invisible glove,” he said.
There’s also a “spray-on band-aid” Joseph is checking out.
“There’s so much innovation going on,” he said. “There’s ways we can protect ourselves and still give quality care.”
He said chiropractors are also holistic healers and it’s important for people to build up their immune system naturally. For example, someone who is not out in the sun needs Vitamin D.
“If you do get the virus, the thing is you want your immune system at 100 percent,” he said. “If you do get sick, you still have a 98.9 percent chance you’re going to fight it.”
Layna Martinez, co-owner and office administrator at Lemmata Chiropractic in Hampton, was also able to stay open and see patients through the closures.
“Virginia views chiropractors as essential that’s why we were able to stay open,” she said. “Unfortunately with chiropractic, telehealth is still not an option.”
However, she said there’s been a slowdown in patients due to social distancing measures.
The practice applied for a payroll loan but didn’t reduce staff hours, instead paying them to volunteer elsewhere at nonprofit organizations such as Thrive.
Martinez said they are in the process of moving their practice to the building next door, opening on July 1.
Appointments are now staggered at Lemmata Chiropractic and patients are asked to wait in their cars to avoid the waiting room. Martinez said the sanitation practices didn’t change much, but what did change was in terms of the frequency of cleaning and using more hand sanitizer.
Staff wear face masks and while the practice supplies gloves, they are not required to wear them when treating their patients, she said.
“Nothing was mandated,” she said.
Patients are not required to wear masks but if they want a mask or gloves, the practice has them available, Martinez added.
“We’ve seen an increase of children coming into our office at this time,” she said, citing adjustments provide immune boosting efforts.
Spinal manipulation or adjustments, align the body and help detect when something foreign enters the system like a virus, Martinez said.
“It kind of makes the immune system adjust to 100 percent capacity,” she said. “A lot of a reasons why chiropractic took off was because of the Spanish flu pandemic that killed millions of people.”
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