As Northern VA and the District entered Phase 1 of re-opening, we have been discussing what that means for our office. We have the unique combination of being (literally) a small business, but as a speech therapy business, also one that relies on communication and facial expressions. Our therapy techniques rely on seeing each other’s mouths and often touching them for cues.
So, what does that mean for re-opening?
Being small means we don’t have crowds of people coming in/out of our doors. We can control who has access to our offices and are used to consistent cleaning methods, due to the nature of our population. (kids=germs, COVID19 time or not!). While we, as adults, have transitioned to wearing masks in our every day life, we realized we needed to rethink how, or what kind, of masks we use with our clients. Wearing a traditional mask seems counterintuitive to a speech therapy practice. Clients need to see our mouths. Wearing a mask may also be alarming to a younger child. It is with these considerations that we have decided to primarily maintain our Telehealth practice for the near future.
In addition to the considerations of our families, we also needed to consider the needs of each therapist. Every therapist has a unique family situation and their situation needed to be considered prior to any sort of re-opening.
Who Can Come to the Office?
While we are primarily continuing with Telehealth, we will be open for evaluations. Evaluations are difficult via Telehealth and for many of our families of kids under 3 years, not a practical solution to getting answers to questions you may have about your child’s speech and language development. We are happy to continue offering informal consultations via Telehealth, but if you choose to have a full evaluation, we welcome you back to the office!
As June progresses, we may also offer in-person sessions to families for whom Telehealth simply didn’t work out. This will be not only on a case-by-case basis, but also on an individual therapist basis. Your therapist will discuss this option with you if its deemed appropriate. If you have questions, please reach out to your therapist as well.
What Policies and Procedures will be in place to ensure a safe environment?
As stated, this is a SLOW re-opening. You can expect only 1 therapist on site at a time and 15 minute breaks between evaluations/clients. In addition, the therapist will stagger room use between clients. We will continue to use best-practice cleaning methods and have hand sanitizer available both up front and in our treatment rooms. A full list of the Phase 1 Policies can be found below:
PHASE ONE OPENING
PRECAUTIONS WE’VE ALREADY TAKEN
- Each therapy room will be wiped down before and after each session.
- Hand sanitizer will be available in the waiting room.
- Current contactless payment and intake forms will remain in place to continue reducing your time in the office suite.
NEW OFFICE POLICIES
- For Phase 1: We will have 1 therapist working in the office at a time.
- We will be scheduling clients with 15 minutes in between each session to ensure the therapist has time to properly wipe everything down.
- Please arrive ON TIME (not early) for your appt. If you are early, we ask that you wait in your car before coming up to the office, as we are busy cleaning and preparing for your session.
- We will be staggering room use as well. After a clinician wipes down one room, she will treat her next client in a different room.
- As we are staggering therapists in the office, we are asking that a parent remain onsite for the duration of therapy. We will provide chairs in the waiting room, however there will be no toys or books of any kind. While we would prefer siblings to remain at home, we understand that is not always possible. If a sibling is to come, the parent and the sibling must remain in the waiting room and may not enter the treatment room.
- Again, as we are staggering therapists, clinic make ups will not be available. Should you have to cancel for any scheduling/non-health related reason, you can make up the session via telehealth.
- No food of any kind is permitted in the waiting room.
- If you bring your child in and he/she appears to be unwell (be it allergies, cold, etc.) the therapist reserves the right to send you home and you will be charged for that session.
- We are asking that all adults wear masks while in the clinic.
- Each therapist will be monitoring their temperature daily. We’re asking that each family be prudent in doing the same. If anyone in your family/household is sick or has allergies, please cancel your clinic visit. While we understand allergies are common this time of year, for the safety of our staff we are asking that you cancel and have a virtual visit if your child is sneezing, coughing, rubbing their eyes, has hives, due to allergies.
- We will ask you so sign a document indicating your child has been fever free for 14 days.
- If you cancel due to illness (including, but not limited to, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, green/yellowish mucus), we are asking that you do not return for clinic visits (virtual visits would be possible) for two weeks, or unless you’re cleared by a doctor with a doctor’s note.
*PLEASE NOTE THESE POLICIES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS WE MOVE INTO DIFFERENT PHASES OF REOPENING. WE WILL CONTINUE TO NOTIFY FAMILIES OF NEW CHANGES TO OUR POLICIES.
Please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding the Phase 1 Re-Opening.