Guidelines, Guidelines and more guidelines from our associations and organizations and from the CDC, OSHA, WHO and more…. but now what?
Should you reopen during a pandemic in which there is NO absolute positive way to screen effectively for the virus? Where you work in a closed room and are unable to social distance?
How can you weed through all of this information and make sure you do the right thing?
Massage Association Guidelines
There are many different guidelines from our various associations available for you to help you make the best informed decisions about going back to work. In some ways all of these guidelines have made it more confusing and challenging when planning on reopening although most say the same thing. It is just a ton of info to read and process and can add to the confusion, anxiety and stress of reopening.
ABMP – Back to Practice Guide
Special Issue from ABMP – COVID -19
AMTA- Reopening guidelines
Federation of Massage State Boards – Guidelines for Practice (PDF) with COVID-19 considerations
WSMTA – (WA State Massage Therapy Association) – Resources and Links
Healwell.org – Back to practice free course
Massage Mastery Online– Preventing Disease Transmission in a Massage Practice
Government Guidelines (nothing specific for massage therapists)
OSHA – FAQ’s on Facemaks
OSHA- Return to Work
Dept of Labor – Coronavirus
Figuring out YOUR Guidelines
You need to be following your state rules or guidelines if you want your liability insurance to continue to cover you. If you are not following the state guides, your liability insurance might be invalidated.
The thing is that the governors and department of health or whoever is creating the guidelines are not really up to date on what a massage therapist does or is faced with so you are basically left trying to figure it out on your own.
Find your state guidelines. Use the ABMP website list of states AND the AMTA website list of state guidelines as the links on each site may vary or provide more direct links to the information you need for your state.
Think about everything you do and everything the client does before coming into your office and giving a massage and also what happens after they leave. You have to adapt the best you can because the many various guidelines are confusing and overwhelming.
Social distancing is key to stopping the transmission of viruses. Since Massage therapists can not do that, we have to depend on cleaning and PPE, or wait it out.
Screening for COVID-19 — There are no amount of questions or procedures that can effectively screen for the virus. Taking a persons temperature or pulse ox doesn’t mean they don’t have it. Many people are asymptomatic. No-touch temperature tools are inaccurate and people’s temperatures vary anyway. People with immune disorders often have a higher temp and with warmer temperatures outside many others may run higher.
Get the touchless temperature tool or the pulse oximeter if required or you want to have fun testing and comparing. People are also lying on their intake and may also have a different definition of what self isolating means.
Office Prep – Cover cloth chairs with plastic to clean easier. Space waiting rooms out to leave 6 feet between people or space out appointments so two people are not in the waiting room at the same time. Have hand sanitizer for the client to use upon entering the office (or hand washing station/sink). Leave office door open so client doesn’t have to touch it. Get water for the person if they need it.
Use no contact payment processing systems.
Facerest – The pillowcase draped down does NOT do anything to protect anyone. People need to wear a mask even lying face down. If they can’t lie face down with a face mask on, work on them sidelying. Teach them how to breath wearing a facemask. Have a protective cover over a sheepskin cover or buy enough covers to wash every time.
Air filters for room – HEPA filters. Keep windows open if you have windows. Open the door if you can.
Document EVERYTHING! If you don’t document it, it did not happen.
Lotions/Oils – Automatic lotion dispenser (for soap or hand sanitizer too)
Get rid of the lotion/oil holders or buy enough to wash after every client.
Facemasks — Just wear them and make the client wear one. Learn how to breathe and teach the client how to breath wearing one. Read more on what type and how to breathe wearing a facemask.
Faceshields— I am not sure why people are wearing these because they are open at the bottom and often the top letting droplets spread or enter your space. My dentist friend wears one over a mask and over her glasses and can see droplets on the shield so she knows it has to be cleaned and knows that there are still droplets around but she is poking in people’s mouths.
Changing clothes in between clients – doesn’t make any sense since nurses don’t even do that in between patients.
Wearing gloves – Think about it…this does nothing to protect you from getting it. You are still spreading it around if you leave the gloves on and go in and out of the room. If you touch anything in the room, then you have to change gloves. If you are massaging someone and then have to touch something in the room, you need to change gloves. Just wash your hands and clean the room.
This frustrating and overwhelming process of figuring out what to do to reopen safely really is showing the massage profession that we don’t have good relationships with governors, legislators and boards of massage or department of health in each state. We really should be a part of the process of giving input to the various powers that be to create the guidelines we want along with getting the best information that will help us do that.