Providing Continuity of Care

Originally posted by David Price L.Ac on December 26, 2020.

In the early days of the pandemic, 77% of U.S. acupuncture clinics made the decision to just close their doors. Faced with conflicting information on the virus and the legal requirements of their states, many felt the most prudent course was to hunker down for several months until normalcy returned and patients could be treated safely. Unfortunately, the pandemic has progressed through fits and starts, leading to the current, and most severe, third wave of transmission that has paralyzed the nation. Normality has never been restored, mask-wearing, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing are now more necessary than ever, and some acupuncture clinics will, sadly, never reopen.

The healthcare industry, including acupuncture and traditional Asian medicine, has an advantage over other businesses in that principles and procedures to prevent infection are part of standard professional training and practice. Although the specific routes of transmission for the SARS-Cov2 virus were unknown (and are still being examined), the universal precautions followed by all healthcare professionals can be modified for the setting, nature of the pathogens, and the specific patient population. This allows for continuity of care while controlling and reducing risk.

White Pine Clinic has operated without interruption and is pleased to announce that we have avoided even a single case of transmission within our clinic during the pandemic. Our patients deserve much of the credit as they have shared their symptoms honestly with us and many have made responsible decisions about when to stay at home. For any healthcare provider, careful triage is always the best way to keep everyone safe.

Meanwhile, we have maintained our early safety measures and have added to these procedures as our understanding of COVID-19 has evolved. Despite evidence that fomites—contaminated surfaces—may only play a minor role in disease transmission, we continue to disinfect the common points of contact after use by each individual. Once researchers determined that the main avenue of transmission was respiratory droplets, we implemented new strategies to enhance airflow in both treatment rooms and common areas. It is hard work to maintain a practice while protecting our patients and ourselves, but we remain committed to providing our community with effective traditional Asian medical healthcare.

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