Meridian Acupuncture Return to Work Policy

By Paul J.O'Brien
B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Cert Clin. Med. M.T.C.M.C.I., M.C.Th.A.

I am very happy to announce that I will be reopening the clinic in the coming weeks. In accordance with HSA and HSE guidelines, we will be adopting some new essential policies in the clinic. These are to ensure your safety and well-being. It's a short enough document and I encourage you to read the whole thing. It is important that you feel comfortable and reassured coming in for your treatments and these are some of the steps we are taking to make that a reality. :-) 

Clinical Safety

The clinic is already cleaned on a regular basis following best practice guidelines, often exceeding the recommendations of the HSE. 

  1. All commonly touched surfaces are cleaned and disinfected frequently, far more than the recommended twice daily. In fact, door handles, chairs, desks, and treatment tables are cleaned daily and additionally disinfected before each patient.
  2. All shared items that are potential risk factors for micro-organisms such as magazines, business cards, fabrics e.g. cushions and towels have been removed (yes sadly, this means no lovely warm towels for a while). If you require support for the back or the head I request you bring your own pillow for the time being. 
  3. Washroom facilities are cleaned twice daily and disinfected. 
  4. Hand towels have been removed and replaced with disposable paper towels to be binned immediately after use. 

Patient Safety

The following policies as advised by the AFPA (Acupuncture Foundation Professional Association) are being adopted to ensure your safety (and mine!)

     1. Initially, treatment services will be offered to “essential patients” only. These include:

  • Time dependant treatments – e.g. fertility treatments
  • Patients with severe pain
  • Patients whose chronic conditions have deteriorated or may deteriorate without treatment (MS, Fibromyalgia, Mental Health Illness, etc)
  • Supporting the health and well-being of front-line workers  

     2. It is strongly suggested that before your acupuncture appointment, we cover all the talking (my favourite part!) in a telephone consultation beforehand either the day before or the same day as treatment. This is to reduce the time spent together in close proximity and maximise your safety.

     3. It is suggested that where this is not possible/ practical to consult with a patient remotely before treatment that we ensure that a distance of a minimum of 2 meters is maintained from the patient during the consultation. Chairs and room configuration have been changed to address this. 

     4. Staggering appointments is now a STRICT requirement to;

  • Avoid/minimise interactions between patients and other members of the public in confined spaces such as entrances/exits, reception, waiting areas, or corridors.
  • To provide enough time to ensure appropriate cleaning and sanitising of the clinic takes place.
  • To provide opportunity for room ventilation where possible to occur.
  • A minimum of 15 minutes is recommended between patients.

As such appointments will be spaced out and kept strictly to 45 minutes. (5 minutes to discuss any significant issues not covered previously in phone consult, 10 minutes to needle and 30 minutes needles retention).

     5. If you are running late, please notify me immediately and await further instruction. You will receive a text message to confirm the clinic is clear for entry. This measure is to reduce further risk; especially where there is a concern about the potential compromise of correct social distancing guidelines. 

     6. If required an email confirming your appointment detailing; time, clinic information, and address can be provided if you have concerns over being stopped by the Gardaí.

     7. A face mask will be worn by your acupuncturist if: 

  • There is interaction with a patient that is likely to last longer than 15 minutes and physical distancing is within 1 metre.
  • Physical distancing measures of 2 metres cannot be achieved/ sustained
  • The practitioner deems it appropriate measure for their clinic. 

     8. Gloves will be worn by your acupuncturist if: 

  • a practitioner is likely to come into contact with bodily fluid i.e. during bleeding techniques
  • a practitioner is disposing of something that is contaminated with bodily fluid or suspected COVID-19
  • a practitioner is cleaning a surface that has been contaminated with bodily fluid or suspected/ confirmed COVID-19

     9. All patients will be required to fill out an online PRE-TREATMENT-SCREENING CHECK (COVID-19) FORM. (Click Here). Pre-screening is now a public health recommendation for patients prior to attending for treatment. This measure is an effort to minimise the risk of the spread of COVID-19 within our communities. Pre-screening should be completed prior to a patient attending the clinic as a risk management protocol. You will be denied entry to the clinic if you have not completed this form. 

    10. All Patients will be required to complete a Daily Contact Log”, with the date, time, full name, contact phone number, and temperature for each appointment. This contact log is a requirement from the Government of Ireland under the Return to Work Safely Protocol; COVID-19 Specific National Protocol for Employers and Workers; May 2020. The log record will be kept confidential except for purposes of Contact Tracing in line with Public Health requirements as set out in the Return to Work Safely Protocol, the Health Services Executive and Health Protection Surveillance Centre. 

Thank You for Your Cooperation and Understanding.
I look forward to seeing you all again soon!


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