Chennai

Physiotherapists resume services but have very few clients

Masks are compulsory for therapists and patients

Masks are compulsory for therapists and patients   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A number of guidelines have been put in place for physiotherapy clinics to begin services again

Among the first of the paramedical services to resume after the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were relaxed, is physiotherapy. Stand-alone clinics have begun operations, but house visits are not taking place as yet.

Therapists say though, that clients are a bare trickle at clinics compared to what they used to see earlier. Therapists continue to provide advice to patients over the phone or through video calls to patients in severe pain.

“Some patients who were in extreme pain wanted to come in and we could do little during the lockdown,” said B. Murugan, president of the Tamil Nadu State Physiotherapy Council. On the request of the State Commissioner for Differently Abled, the therapists started counselling sessions over the phone or through video calls.

On Monday, the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services issued guidelines for their operation. The council included a consent form stating that therapists had informed them of the process followed in the clinics.

Now, clients must make a prior appointment. Only one attendant is allowed per client. The clinics must maintain records of clients and both the therapist and the client must wear masks and gloves. Clients must be provided with masks and gloves if they are not already wearing them already. The client’s temperature must be recorded and entered in the case sheet.

The government has mandated that clinics must have a facility for hand washing near the entrance; thermal scanners must be used to measure clients’ and attendants’ temperature. The sheet on the bed must be changed for every client. Some clinics offer water bottles instead of placing a common dispenser.

The air conditioner units have been switched off. The doors are left open. Therapists say they wear a face shield for additional safety.

“I used to see 30 to 40 clients a day but now it is 10,” said V. Ramesh Babu, who runs four clinics -- two in Kancheepuram and one each in Velachery and Chengalpattu. He reopened the Kancheepuram unit three days ago. “Usually we would have 15 persons working, now I have only four assistants,” he added.

S. Sivabalan. who runs a clinic in Thiruvanmiyur said that though the government had allowed for the operation of clinics from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., his clinic was open only till 1 p.m. “It is in the red zone and I don’t want to take the risk. I want to see how it goes,” he said.

The therapists say it will be awhile before people venture out.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 9:22:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/physiotherapists-resume-services-but-have-very-few-clients/article31600039.ece

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