Patient safety during COVID-19
At Oncology Acupuncture Toronto, we have been keeping a close eye on public health developments, government regulations, and best practices across North America for keeping everyone safe. As we resume regular in-person services at a slow pace (less than 50% capacity, to keep everyone separated), we ask you to please cooperate with the following, to help you and everyone in the clinic stay safe and healthy. NOTE: If you are a new patient, yes we are now accepting new patients… please click here for more information!
Booking Your Appointment
- We hope to use phone/online appointments as much as possible: To minimize the amount of time we talk together in a closed space, we’re moving to a combined remote + in-person treatment approach.
- New patients: All new patients will have their initial appointment done by phone/online (whether the free consult or initial intake).
- Check-ins by phone/online before acupuncture: If you haven’t seen us in 6+ weeks, please consider booking a 15-30 minute session by phone/online before your next acupuncture appointment, so that we can get caught up before you enter the clinic.
- Regular treatment plan progress check-ins: Consider booking phone/online appointments at least once every 2-4 weeks, or as suggested by your practitioner.
- Herbal, nutrition, self-acupressure, and treatment plan progress: In-person appointments will focus on the acupuncture only. Phone/online appointments will be used to discuss your TCM assessments and treatment plan in greater detail. We’ve found many patients benefit from the phone/online sessions we’ve had, using self-acupressure protocols, herbs, nutrition, Qi Gong or meditation recommendations, self-care homework, measuring progress, etc.
Preparing For Your Appointment
- Screening: We will be diligently screening patients for possible COVID-19 symptoms, when you book, and right before you come to the clinic. Please click on all the automated emails from our software, as they may contain important COVID-19 screening questions or other information. You will have to complete the screening before every acupuncture appointment (sorry in advance, but it helps protect us all!)
- Rescheduling due to COVID screening: If you are feeling ill or answer YES to any of the screening questions, please contact us ASAP to discuss canceling your appointment (no charge) or switching to a phone/online appointment. Complete the online self-assessment tool and then call Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) for further assessment and possible testing.
- Bring: Mask, pen, water bottle.
- Masks: Bring a clean mask (worn no longer than 1 hour) when you come into the clinic. A cloth mask is fine. If you forget, some masks will be available for sale at the clinic. Note that no patient masks may be discarded in the clinic.
- Clothes: If you wish to be extra-safe, you can bring a plastic bag and extra change of clothes. At the end of the treatment, you can place your treatment clothes in the bag and seal it to bring home to wash in hot water.
- Visitors: Do not bring any visitor with you to the appointment unless necessary (i.e. for mobility or language requirements). If you bring someone, they will also need to be screened before entering
- Washroom: Consider using the washroom before you leave the house. Washrooms are open and are cleaned regularly, this is just to help reduce the number of people using them.
- Important notices: Please click on all the email reminders you receive from us. These may contain important COVID screening questionnaires or other reminders before your appointments.
- Tongue pictures: If you can, snap photos of your tongue and email them to us (email@example.com). Not only does that save the need to remove your mask in the clinic, but it also allows us to see the tongue first thing in the morning in its most natural state. For more details on how to take the tongue pictures, click here.
Arriving for your appointment
- Waiting room closed: When you arrive, please wait in your car or outside the clinic until your provider calls your cell phone to say the waiting room is clear. [For the Vaughan location at the Marsden Centre, please text the Marsden Centre at 647-269-6979 to let reception know you’ve arrived, and await instructions as reception will be managing traffic flow in the waiting area. You don’t need to do that at 112 Merton Street, we’ll just call you at the time of your appointment.] Before entering the clinic, you may be asked COVID-19 screening questions again and have your temperature taken.
- Hand hygiene: We’ll remind you to clean your hands by rubbing for at least 20 seconds, whenever you enter and exit the clinic, after your treatment, after using the washroom, and after you touch a common surface (e.g. door handle, elevator button, etc.). Hand sanitizer will be available.
- In the clinic: Try to avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth, if possible. Please cover your mouth for the occasional cough (if you’re coughing regularly, please state this in the screening questionnaire).
- Payment: We ask you to plan to use a contactless payment method (online payment, or debit/credit tap) if possible, to help keep everyone safe. The easiest way is to use the secure payment system within our Janeapp booking software and keep your credit card on file. That allows you to simply walk out after your treatment, without spending the extra time completing the payment
- Physical distancing: As there are multiple practitioners using the space, you may occasionally come across other people in the clinic at the same time. Please stay 2 metres away from others and remember to keep your mask on at all times. Luckily our clinic space is very large, so this should not be a problem.
- Washrooms: Please knock on the washroom door and refrain from entering if there is someone already in the washroom (even with 2 stalls).
- Minimize talking in the treatment room: Due to physical distancing guidelines, we are trying to minimize talking during the acupuncture treatment, to help keep patients and practitioners safe.
What else are we doing to keep everyone safe?
- Clinic Safety Plan: We have attended professional development webinars on clinic safety during COVID-19, and read all Ministry of Health, Public Health, and CTCMPAO guidelines thoroughly, creating a 20 page procedures document our clinic will follow. We are also completing Public Health Ontario’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) trainings.
- Personal Protective Equipment: We have gone to great lengths to source appropriate PPE. Staff will be wearing masks, face shields, scrubs, lab coats. Gloves will be worn as needed
- Clean Needle Technique: As licensed acupuncturists, we will continue follow CNT, a standard technique for infection control during acupuncture.
- Sanitation: We will go above and beyond the legal requirements for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting between patients. We use an approved, hospital-grade disinfectant on the treatment tables and all surfaces that patients may touch. We chose a disinfectant is also non-toxic and has a pleasant smell
- Linens and laundry: Will be kept secure (cannot be contaminated by other patients), changed between patients, and laundered on hot according to recommendation.
- Clinic safety meetings: We will also keep having regular meetings at both locations, to ensure everyone using the clinic is on the same page.
- Clinic environment: We are working with our landlords at both spaces to make numerous changes to promote physical distancing and easy disinfection.
- Keeping ourselves safe and healthy: We are all taking great care at home to maintain our own health using self-care measures, physical distancing, and staying home as much as possible. If you have more questions or concerns about this, please ask your practitioner.
We have been keeping up to date with all the regulations put out by the Ontario Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario, and the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario. We’ve developed a comprehensive clinic policy to cover all the aspects of care and what we are doing to keep everyone safe and healthy. If you have any other questions about these details, please feel free to contact us anytime.