Infection Control Protocols
The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the relevant Regulated Health Colleges for massage therapy and physiotherapy have outlined the appropriate infection control protocols for manual and physical therapists to follow while providing treatment during the pandemic.
Please check back as the provincial opening continues. Any changes to the protocols will be updated here.
Government of Canada
"The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) develops infection prevention and control guidelines to provide evidence-based recommendations to complement provincial/territorial public health efforts in monitoring, preventing, and controlling healthcare-associated infections. These guidelines support infection prevention and control professionals, healthcare organizations and healthcare providers in developing, implementing and evaluating infection prevention and control policies, procedures and programs to improve the quality and safety of health care and patient outcomes."
Government of Ontario
Of note and direct relevance to manual therapists and manual therapy clinical settings:
College of Massage Therapists of Ontario
The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) is monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic daily and updating the information as it becomes available. The safety of the public, including Massage Therapists (RMTs), remains their top priority.
General Principles for Return to Work
In the gradual restart of services, RMTs must:
- Comply with requirements in the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Operational Requirements: Health Sector Restart (May 26, 2020 or as current), including, but not limited to, the hierarchy of hazard controls;
- Prioritize clients with essential care needs while gradually resuming practice. Massage Therapy treatment is considered essential when the client’s overall health or function would considerably decline if treatment were not provided (i.e. lead to hospitalization or other serious health consequences);
- Consider the principles of proportionality, minimizing harm to patients/clients, equity, and reciprocity (as defined in the CMOH’s Directive #2) in gradually returning to practice;
- Adhere to COVID-19 Pandemic – Practice Guidance for Massage Therapists;
- Restart Massage Therapy practice gradually, ensuring enough time between appointments to clean and disinfect the practice environment; and
- Regularly look for updates on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 webpage and this webpage as the pandemic continues to evolve. Direction from the Ministry of Health and Chief Medical Officer of Health overrules anything that may be on this webpage.
College of Physiotherapists of Ontario
General Principles for Return to Work
In-person Essential Care
- Physiotherapists are encouraged to continue to implement a system for virtual and/or telephone consultations as a preferred option, when and where possible.
- When possible, physiotherapists should conduct a consultation over the phone, video or secure messaging to determine if a virtual/telephone consultation will suffice or if an in-person appointment is necessary and essential. The purpose of this is to support physical distancing and minimize contact of persons who may have COVID-19 with health care settings.
- Certain patients or acute conditions will require in-person visits. Physiotherapists should exercise clinical judgement to determine whether an in-person visit is necessary.
- Physiotherapists should consider providing some care virtually even if an in-person visit is needed in order to minimize the in-person time required.
Safe and gradual resumption of in-person care
- Limit the number of in-person visits.
- Consider which services should continue to be provided remotely and which services can safely resume in-person.
- Implement a system for virtual consultations to determine if virtual care is appropriate or an in-person appointment is necessary.
- Modify services to reduce the need for and time spent in in-person visits.
Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners (OAO)
The OAO is a membership association that holds itself and it's members to the highest standards while working toward regulation.
"All members preparing to return to work must ensure that they are very familiar with the OAO’s Guidelines for Return to Work, and should only return to practice if they are able to meet these guidelines and the protocols set forth by the Government of Ontario. The guidance provided by the OAO document, combined with the comprehensive pre-requisite set out by the Ministry of Health, will ensure the safe resumption of patient care. Where there is any perceived inconsistency between OAO’s Guidelines and that of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry’s requirements take precedence.
The OAO expects members to comply with all of their legal and professional requirements and we will be looking into any concerns about a practice not following the guidelines, should information or a formal complaint be received."