COVID-19 - Peak Wellbeing - Nottingham Physio's reflection on Lockdown experience.
When the news of Covid 19 reached a peak towards the end of March, we were forced to make a difficult decision to close our physiotherapy clinic as it felt like the right thing to do to help to stop the spread of this unknown threat to the most vulnerable members of our society. We were really concerned by the potential impact this novel coronavirus would have on our stretched health service and and our NHS colleagues working on the frontline. The stories we'd heard were not easily digested..........Yet we were also troubled by the potential impact the developments would have would have on our service and business which not only provided a means of living for
myself and my family, but also for the staff, employed and contracted who work for us. It was also a difficult decision to make on behalf of the old patients we've provided an often much needed service for over the last 10 years.....and for the people who newly seek our services for acute pain or functional needs at the current time. After all we were anticipating a increase in numbers of people requiring our help as a result of working from home rather than the office, or from those engaging in new fitness regimes with the new found time they had on their hands!
........on the other hand, here was an opportunity to test a theory I'd long held, that a good part of my philosophy as a physio was based on facilitation of self management of patients problems through advice and education and the tailoring of individual exercises programmes. Fortunately, in the technological age we live in, and like most of the country's workforce, we took to virtual meetings to listen to our patients and formulate plans of attack, not able to utilise an opportunity to use many of our hands on assessment skills to assist the process. We were buoyed up by the evidence from the research papers, assessing the effectiveness of this form of intervention. So.......we set about testing the theory with a good sense of optimism that our patients would take the responsibility to exercises independently with the advice and bespoke plans we provided for them.
The result.... well the full result has yet to be realised as the data continues to come in, but we have had some great feedback. I think the biggest challenge has been that of changing the belief of many, that physio is a passive process dependent on joint mobilisation, muscle massage and other modes of treatment.............and hoping that we can help forge the realisation that most beneficial outcomes of physio come after a good and healthy dose of positive attitude, belief and conscientiousness, when it comes to following advice and exercises programmes. The outcomes are not always dependent on the hands on techniques and practices historically associated with physiotherapy. Education plays the huge part in the too. in matter of fact, education is seen to massively reduce anxiety and improve confidence about health conditions, and should in my opinion be embraced as an essential part of every session we partake in. With that I also set out on producing some generic education sessions recorded for and reluctantly posted on social media (not such familiar and comfortable environment for me!- I am however becoming slightly more comfortable with it now though!)
Here we are now, starting to emerge from under the black cloud with a new sense of beginning, along with some lessons learned and new ideas to put into practice. We HAVE opened in reduced capacity, however we still struggle to balance the dangers of new waves of infection and protecting the interests of our service users with the financial concerns of running a profitable business. For now, we do what we can and hope for the new normal to shine with some positive changes to society to boot.