A Message from us… 23 March 2020
This is a long one and was originally emailed out to patients, but I think it’s important that everyone can see this.
A message to you from Steven Ojari, Director, Bannerdale Osteopaths 23rd March 2020:
“As the situation is evolving, it is becoming more and more difficult to justify keeping physical appointments available. Osteopaths are allied health professionals and therefore still allowed to be open by the government. The decision to treat people lies with us because we are primary healthcare practitioners who have guidelines we must follow being regulated by a governing body (The General Osteopathic Council).
Whilst we are being stringent with our hygiene measures and patient vetting procedures there is not enough definitive proof that people are not contagious before they exhibit symptoms and testing is not readily available. With the government calling for social distancing and only essential visits to primary healthcare it means under our duty of care responsibility we can no longer see patients in person.
During the last two weeks, we have been planning for this time and how our service and duty of care to you may continue. We feel strongly that the solution is Virtual Appointments. We have put a lot of time and effort into figuring out how these will work best, both for us, and our patients, having done extensive research into which platform we will use. This is not just a video call. If I didn’t think it was an effective way to help people I wouldn’t be doing it. I’m not going to ruin the good reputation we have taken so long building by advising something that isn’t in our patient’s best interests.
Virtual appointments for osteopathy and other physical therapies have been used effectively for a long time – see the research to back this up on our dedicated page https://www.bannerdaleosteopaths.com/virtual-appointments. It should be considered the same as a traditional appointment in that it will last about the same amount of time and needs to be conducted somewhere away from distraction with a chair and a little bit of floor space, carpet, rug, yoga mat are all suitable and wearing loose-fitting clothes that allow unrestricted movement. Patients that are currently under our care for an existing complaint will be sent a summary of their current exercises as videos before their appointment with instructions regarding what I want them to focus on.
The main difference with Virtual Appointments is that the exercises not only continue to form part of the recovery but will also be used as information gathering and progress indicators so that between us we can monitor your progress and change your treatment plan so we can get the most improvement in your condition. The actual appointment will be conducted with us being face to face via webcam, these are built into the top of most laptops and a lot of desktop computers. Smartphones or tablets can be used, but think about how they can be placed so that you are not holding them during the consultation. We will discuss things and I’ll be asking more questions than usual to work out what is wrong and how best to help you, this will be in combination with sharing my screen with you and asking you to perform movements from the videos. Each session will aim to monitor improvement and progress it until you are able to self manage your symptoms on your own – much the same as we do currently with physical appointments.
Only Steven will be performing the virtual appointments initially but Alex and Pooja may come on board further down and line and will certainly be back in the physical clinic when the situation allows.
We have always prided ourselves on not asking people to come in for unnecessary appointments and strived to get people self-managing their complaint in as few sessions as possible and that will continue. If Virtual Appointments aren’t working for you for any reason we will try and help you find something that we feel will.”
I look forward to seeing you via a webcam soon.
Steven and the Bannerdale Osteopaths Team.