Dentists, physiotherapists set to reopen from mid-May to early June

Dentists, physiotherapists set to reopen from mid-May to early June
WatchDental offices and physiotherapists are getting ready to welcome back their patients, but your visit to the clinic won't be what you're used to. Jasmine Bala has more on what you can expect.

Temperature checks and COVID-19 screening questions are going to be routine at medical services opening back up in phase two of B.C’s restart plan.

“We’re taking people’s temperatures when they arrive,” said Stefan Fletcher, CEO of Rebalance MD, a clinic that offers orthopedic, physical medicine and sports injury care in Victoria.

“We’re also going through a screening questionnaire before they arrive, two or three days [prior], and [then] when they arrive.”

Rebalance MD, along with other medical services that the province considered non-essential, will be seeing patients for physiotherapy and surgery starting next week.

Last Wednesday, B.C. announced a restart plan that would see medically-related services such as dentistry, physiotherapy, registered massage therapy, and chiropractors begin operating again under enhanced protocols mid-May and onwards.

The questionnaire and temperature checks are part of the heightened measures and will include questions like: “Have you experienced any flu-like symptoms recently?”

Waiting rooms are also being spaced out to allow for the two-metre physical distancing rule. At Rebalance MD, patients are being asked to arrive right on time, rather than early.

“People may be waiting in their cars,” Fletcher explained, instead of in the waiting room. “Then, they come up on time. So we’re making sure we get that nice flow.”

After being screened, patients are sent to the waiting area, where they speak to the receptionist who is sitting behind plexiglass before being escorted to their appointments.

It’ll be a similar experience for those going to the dentist.

At Downtown Dental Victoria, patients will go through the same screening measures. When they arrive at the office, patients will have to disinfect their hands at stations near the front door. After that, patients put on gowns and are escorted to the treatment rooms.

“You’re going to be wearing the gown as well and you’re going to be laying down on the chair with the dental dam in place,” said Dr. Stephane Picard from Downtown Dental Victoria. “The dentist and the assistant and everyone else is going to have a visor, gown, as well as an N95 mask.”

Even the rooms will be getting a bit of a makeover.

“[We are] sealing the room with polythene so we can prevent the aerosol to spread from one room to the other,” said Picard.

With all of these measures in place, it may take longer than usual to get an appointment — but it’s all part of keeping everyone safe.

“It’s going to be a different approach for sure,” noted Picard. “It’s going to be much slower because we [need] more time in between patients to be sure we clean the room properly and the aerosol has time to settle.”

Jasmine BalaJasmine Bala

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