Over the last couple of months, you refrained from leaving your home and seeking care as much of possible to comply with official stay-at-home orders aiming to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus causing COVID-19. Our communal efforts have made a big difference and helped save many lives, especially here in New York City. Unfortunately, many other health care needs went unmet during this time, manifesting in more people succumbing to chronic conditions like heart disease and a steep drop in childhood vaccinations against life-threatening infections. So, it’s time to start thinking about how to care for ourselves as we’re gradually coming out of our home confinement.
Building immune resilience is paramount
I recently described the importance of supporting immune resilience during pandemics for which we currently don’t have effective vaccines or treatments. Natural medicines, including acupuncture, nutrition and botanical therapy, offer many strategies to accomplish just that. We offer TeleHealth consultations to explain how you can use many of these natural therapies for your health needs. However, I’m really excited to let you know that we are again able to offer in-office acupuncture treatments starting in June. Here is what you need to know:
What we do to create the safest environment possible
Because we want to play our part keeping you, other patients, and our staff as safe as possible, we have consulted medical professionals, our associations, and guidelines issued by government health authorities to develop a meaningful strategy. Our approach requires our staff and visitors to work together and includes the following steps:
- Your intake will take place via TeleHealth (phone or Zoom) on the afternoon before or morning of the day of your office visit for acupuncture. This will minimize the time we spend face-to-face in our office and allows us to consider rescheduling your appointment, if appropriate.
- Confirm that you are NOT currently experiencing any symptoms or discomforts that could indicate an acute coronavirus infection (e.g., fever, headache, loss of taste or smell, body aches, fatigue, breathing difficulty, neurological or digestive symptoms).
- Confirm that, to the best of your knowledge, you have NOT had recent contact with someone diagnosed with, or suspected of having, COVID-19.
- Alert us to any pre-existing conditions you have that put you at higher risk for severe COVID-19. This includes high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, lung or kidney disease, etc.
- Our building requires visitors to wear a mask covering the mouth and nose, and allows a maximum of only two people per elevator ride, so please be prepared before you enter 280 Madison and give yourself extra time to reach our floor.
- Our waiting room is currently not in use to reduce the risk of exposure between visitors. Please plan to arrive at the door of our office for your appointed time, where we will meet you. We will walk you to the rest room for thorough hand-washing and then bring you directly to the treatment room.
- We currently do not allow any visitors to wait for you in the hallway or waiting room. Children under the age of 14 or patients with special needs may be accompanied by a guardian or assistant who may stay with them in the room for the duration of the visit.
- We require everyone to wear a surgical or cloth mask that covers mouth and nose for the entire duration of your visit, including the treatment itself. If you forgot your mask, we will have surgical masks available for purchase.
- We reserve the right to take your temperature via infrared before you enter the office. You should also check your temperature in the morning of the day of your appointment.
- Our staff will be wearing masks during the entire encounter with you and, as previously, comply with hand sanitizing requirements by our regulatory bodies.
- We are also reducing the likelihood of encounters between patients by staggering appointments and leaving time between visits to perform appropriate surface disinfection.
- Wear loose clothing so that you need to disrobe only minimally for your acupuncture treatment. We will provide a plastic bag for you to store any clothing you take off.
- Help us reduce the risk of transmitting pathogens by refraining from touching any surfaces unnecessarily.
- Contact us immediately if you notice that you are developing symptoms suspicious of COVID-19 after your office visit so that we can decide together what steps are appropriate to keep everyone safe.
- We now encourage online payments. You will receive an invoice by email via Square. We are no longer passing processing charges along to you. If you prefer to pay by cash or check, please have the exact amount or a completed check ready for us in an envelope.
- Remember that in spite of our best efforts to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus, we can not guarantee that you will not be exposed to SARS-CoV-2 or other pathogens on your way to and from our office or while inside our office.
Please contact us with any questions or suggestions about these procedures. Some of these precautions are new to us, too. We are learning as we go and want to make the experience as safe and comfortable for everyone as possible. Like you, we are looking forward to the time when we can be more relaxed again.
© 2020 Christiane Siebert