Patient safety during COVID-19
At Hillgreen Oncology Acupuncture & Herbs, patient safety is a top priority. As we work with many cancer patients and immunocompromised people, we do everything we can to ensure you feel safe at our clinics.
How are we keeping everyone safe at the clinic?
- Masking, screening, hand, and shoe hygiene: We ask all patients to contact the clinic if you’re experiencing any symptoms listed on our COVID screening form, and depending on the practitioners’ judgment we may ask you to reschedule, to protect other patients at the clinic. You will have to sanitize your hands on arrival. The practitioners are continuing to mask at this time. At the Midtown Toronto location, you’ll be given shoe covers to wear at the clinic and you’ll be asked to wear a mask in the public areas of the clinic. At the Vaughan and Warkworth locations, masking is encouraged and not required (unless you have respiratory symptoms), however we may ask you to mask if someone immunocompromised is coming into the room after you. We’re doing tongue diagnosis via photos whenever possible, so that you don’t have to remove your mask.
- Physical distancing in the waiting room and common areas:
- You may enter the waiting room, but please maintain physical distancing whenever possible
- Accompanying visitors will also be screened before entering
- Personal Protective Equipment: We have gone to great lengths to source appropriate PPE. Staff will be wearing masks (N95 or ASTM Level 2-3), clinic shoes, and scrubs. Gloves will be worn as needed, and otherwise we follow hand-washing and Clean Needle Technique routines strictly.
- Sanitation, disinfection and ventilation: We go above and beyond the legal requirements for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting between each and every patient. We use an approved, hospital-grade disinfectant on the treatment tables and all surfaces that patients may touch. We use HEPA filters to improve air exchange. Washrooms are cleaned as disinfected regularly as well.
- Clean Needle Technique: As licensed acupuncturists, we follow CNT, a standard technique for infection control during acupuncture.
- Linens and laundry: Dirty linens will be kept securely. Linens are always changed between patients, and laundered in hot water according to public health recommendations.
- Contactless payment: Many people now prefer contactless payment methods, such as tap. If you put your card on file for future billings, you can just exit immediately after your treatment.
- Keeping ourselves safe and healthy: While it is not required for patients, all our practitioner are fully-vaccinated against COVID-19. 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. We screen ourselves daily for symptoms and temperature and get tested for COVID as appropriate. If you have more questions or concerns about this, please ask your practitioner.
- Clinic Safety Plan: Your safety is our first priority. 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 have also completed Public Health Ontario’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) trainings
- Clinic safety meetings: We will also keep having regular safety protocol meetings at both locations, to ensure everyone using the clinic is on the same page.
- Clinic environment: We are working with our landlords at all locations to make changes to promote physical distancing and easy disinfection.
Booking Your Appointment
- New patients: All new patients have the choice of having their initial appointment done in person or by phone/online for safety reasons. Our 15 minute free consultations are usually done by phone/online to save you the trouble of travelling to the clinic.
- Phone/online treatment options: If you haven’t seen us in 12+ 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. Phone/online sessions 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.
- 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 or switching to a phone/online appointment.
- 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 before each visit, 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
- 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: You can use a contactless payment method if you wish, to help keep everyone safe. The easiest way is ask your practitioner or receptionist to place your card on file to bill each time. That allows you to simply walk out after your treatment, without spending the extra time completing the payment, and minimizing the need for surface contact.
- Physical distancing: As there are occasionally other 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 spacious, 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 at the Midtown location, we are keeping it to one person at a time)
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.