Each province will have its own guidelines, but in general we are being asked to triage our patients, use telemedicine where possible, and see urgent patients as we deem necessary.
“Urgent” means different things to different people, and we leave this up to your judgement.
Each of our members may have different pain practices; it is therefore difficult to give general advice.
The CAOM supports the members who choose to close their practices at this juncture, but advises they continue to support their patients by phone or video-conferencing where possible; pain persists and we cannot desert our patients but should be available to them by some means.
The CAOM also supports members who choose to keep their practices open, but advises that strict precautions be in place, along with triaging to see only the urgent cases in the office at this point in time.
Some of these precautions may include the use of surgical masks* and eye protection for staff and doctors (and possibly patients), strict screening criteria to make sure patients attending the offices are not ill nor have been in contact with ill people or travellers, keeping waiting rooms “minimalistic” (no magazines, chairs 2 metres apart), reducing the number of patients in the waiting room at any one time, maintaining 2 metres at all times except when administering treatment, discouraging those over 70 from attending in person unless clear benefit outweighs risk, cleaning all surfaces including reception, chairs, door handles, washrooms, and point of sale machines between patients, washing of clothes from that day’s office daily, and possibly providing a plexiglass barrier for the receptionists.
*surgical masks have been found to be of some benefit in other countries such as South Korea and Japan, even though viruses can penetrate them. Here is a link to a relevant article: https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/coronavirus-pollution-masks-n95-surgical-mask/
We wish you well during this trying time. Stay safe!
Your CAOM Board