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What Happens to a Physical Therapy Clinic During COVID-19?

For Crom Rehab, it's business as usual...with a few changes.

Crom Rehabilitation puts your physical therapy goals first while striving to keep you safe.

Here in the U.S. and around the globe, we’re struggling to get used to the “new normal”, at least for the time being.  Really, none of us have ever been through anything like this!  It’ll be wonderful when COVID is under control but until then, we must all do our part to keep others safe.  

Crom Rehabilitation is built on the principle of putting you and your physical therapy goals first but we also need to keep you safe and do as much as we possibly can to avoid spreading this terrible virus while you’re visiting our center!  When you come into the Crom Rehabilitation Houston clinic, your time and resources will be respected as our professional staff works to create a rehabilitative program that is tailored to meet your needs and help you effectively achieve your therapeutic goals.  Together with our team of experienced therapists, we will work towards helping you reach your maximum rehabilitative potential and return to your previous lifestyle without pain or disability.

Our profession has gained some regulatory momentum.
Here’s some food for thought:  our profession has fought hard to get to the level of autonomy and recognition we have garnered this far.  The fact that physical therapy has been recognized at the federal level as “essential work” is monumental.  We now have an opportunity to shine and truly show that we have the skills, education, and fortitude to be considered primary care providers for neuromusculoskeletal issues.  What better use of our skillset than to assist in this time of crisis in order to reduce the volume of musculoskeletal pain patients in emergency rooms and urgent care?  We are trained in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE); we understand the science behind viral transmission and can help educate our patients-and their families-on proper handwashing, sanitization, and other ways to mitigate infection.

When we first started hearing about COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the media, it seemed like the chances of a global pandemic-while possible-were more hypothetical than anything.  After all, we have seen other health concerns rise and recede-but this part of the world, we have experienced little social impact.  And now, here we are almost overnight, it seems we have found ourselves in the middle of a global crisis.  And while solutions are in flight, it will probably be some time before things fully return to normal-whatever the new “normal” may be.

Embrace social distancing.
According to the CDC, this entire year is going to remain challenging and as much as many of us are “tired” of the masks, lockdowns, etc it’s very important that we all do our part!  In addition to carrying over sanitization best practices from your home to the Crom clinic, you should also follow similar social distancing guidelines.  By nature, physical therapy has some unique challenges when it comes to maintaining a healthy distance between patients and providers.  However, here are a few best practices that will reduce the risk of unnecessary contact:

  • We avoid booking concurrent appointments with the same therapist whenever possible
  • Many non-clinical employees work from home.
  • Therapists wear gloves during hands-on treatment procedures.
  • Maintain at least six feet of distance between patients during exercise sessions (whenever possible).
  • Put a temporary halt on in-clinic services with vulnerable patients to avoid potential exposure.
  • We’ve rearranged our clinic waiting area to increase the distance between chairs or ask visitors to wait outside of the clinic.
  • All equipment is wiped down, including chairs and treatment areas between every patient interaction.

Taking Care of Our Patients
Considering all the business and financial uncertainty, it is vital that physical therapy practice owners do not forget our overarching mission as healthcare providers: ensuring the health and wellbeing of outpatients.  Our patients are our most valuable asset, and many of them fall into the “high risk” category, which means they are even more scared.  Plus, they are hearing all kinds of information, statistics, and hypotheticals from people who may, or many are not trusted sources.  As their physical therapist, you play the role of care provider, educator, and now more than ever-a guiding light in the storm ahead.

Taking Care of Yourself
The most important part of this entire crisis is you!  This may seem oversimplified, but your first line of defense starts at home.  I suspect this won’t be news to any of you, but keeping your home environment clean is the key to ensuring you and your family remain healthy as well as slowing the spread of illness, so:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content
  • Cover your cough
  • Keep communal space clean and sanitary
  • Disinfect objects you use frequently (such as your phone and other electronics).

And of course, consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Chances are that your local grocery store is fully stocked with both at the moment.

There has also been a lot of discussion regarding social distancing, or physical distancing, as the World Health Organization now refers to it, which you should practice at all times.  Stick to critical gatherings only and limit them to 10 people or fewer.  When you have to leave your home, keep about six feet of distance between you and other people.

Of course, taking care of yourself goes beyond cleanliness and proximity, which is why aggressive hand washing and sanitizing isn’t the only thing you should be doing for yourself.

Practice self-care
One of the things that makes this health crisis so unique is that it is not isolated to a single continent or hemisphere-it is everywhere.  As a result, the entire world is feeling the effects-both physically and mentally.  In moments of stress-and when we experience feelings of helplessness-our brains become flooded with cortisol (the stress hormone) which has been proven to impair brain function, decision-making abilities, and rationalization.  For that reason, it is not uncommon for people to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms.  But, as I’m sure you know, unhealthy habits can weaken the body’s immunity – and when we’re stressed, our immunity is already less than optimal.

For that reason, it is important to be kind to yourself: go for a walk; meditate; do a quick yoga routine; play with your dog.  There are companies that offer extended free trials in light of this crisis (guided meditation apps).  And if you find yourself with extra time on your hands, pick up a hobby you wouldn’t otherwise have time for: learn an instrument; make a new recipe with the kids; put a dent in your reading list.  Devoting time to self-care and wellness is crucial to keeping your mind happy, which will make your body happy, too.  These self-care reminders have been extremely helpful to many as they are juggling working, home-schooling children, and all the other extra stress that has come along with this pandemic.

Crōm Rehabilitation
734 North Loop, Houston, TX 77009

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