I’ll admit, the last few weeks have tested me. It’s been a period of major personal and professional challenge, as it has been no doubt for most of us. It’s Sunday evening on the 19th of April, and I sit down to write this partly as catharsis, but mostly as information for our patients. The reason for this blog is to help you understand why we have taken the actions we have at Stack St Physio, what we will continue to do, and how we aim to help you get through this very bizarre and challenging period of life.

On March the 24th, we put a pause on face-to-face consultations. Despite physiotherapy being listed by the government at that time (as it remains today) as an essential service, we did not feel right about continuing to take in patients at a time where cases of COVID-19 were rapidly rising. I proudly stand by that decision. In the days that followed, we saw further rises in cases, peaking on March 28th. Fortunately, right now in WA we are in a much better position.

Nonetheless, our decision to close and move to Telehealth made it tough for our patients who would benefit from in-person consultations rather than video consults. It has financially cost us significantly as a business. Personally, I have grappled with deciding what is the best course of action from here as COVID cases lower – when to re-open, and how best to do it whilst minimising risks to patients and ourselves. I had a tipping point last week where I had to turn away a young bloke with acute back pain who would have benefited from a face-to-face consult. One of our guiding principles at the clinic is to go the extra mile to look after our patients, and this situation made me question what was potentially the more harmful outcome – take in a patient because of a (very low!) risk of virus transmission, or to decline physiotherapy care to an otherwise healthy young man who really needed some help.

There may be no perfect answer. But this week coming, I have decided that Stack St Physio will open its doors again to patients who would benefit from face-to-face physiotherapy assessment and treatment. I feel happy knowing that there are patients who have been waiting to get treatment again, and this news will cause them some relief. I am pleased that Nicola and I will be able to get back to working with more of our patients again.

To do this as safely as possible, this is how it will look:

  • we will continue to encourage Telehealth (online video consultations) for patients who can and choose to do this

  • we will offer physiotherapy consultations in the clinic to those who need or would prefer this

  • we will be performing COVID screenings on every single patient, every time (please don’t be offended!)

  • we will be going to major safety lengths (as we were doing prior to closing) to minimise risks. This includes only one physio in the clinic at a time; increased spacing between appointments; contactless transactions; single-use table covers; full antiseptic cleaning of the treatment rooms and clinic surfaces after every patient; thorough handwashing (as always!); the list goes on.

This will mean we re-open the clinic at a slowed and manageable pace, for only those patients who require it, pass screening tests and for only one patient at a time. As a responsive and responsible clinic, we will continue to monitor all Government and Department of Health advice and we will adjust our approach accordingly.

Personally, I am looking forward to regaining some semblance of normality. Despite the stress the past few weeks has caused me, I choose to focus on the upsides:

  • I have been able to spend more time at home with my four year old son, who is a ball of energy and pretty excited to have Dad around a lot (I think my wife appreciates this too ;) )

  • I have used this window to reflect on how I want the clinic to keep working towards our vision of the best sports physiotherapy practice in the greater Fremantle area – and I am looking forward to progressing the services we provide in many directions in the months to come!

  • We are lucky to live here considering the horrible stuff going on in other parts of the world

  • I am grateful for the support of the patients of the clinic, who have been truly supportive of the decisions we have made in the last month

  • Following on from COVID, if we can take the best bits – improved hygiene, increased social connection despite the distancing, a return to simple play and values at home – we will be better off as a community for it.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. Thank you for your ongoing support and I hope that you and your family and friends are staying well and finding some positives amongst the challenges. If you are struggling, please reach out to someone – if we can help in any way, we’d love to do so. You can get us on 0421 195 553, email Ben (ben@stackstphysio.com.au) or Nicola (nicola@stackstphysio.com.au) or find most things from our website.

We have put together a bunch of new material online and on social media, including our “Stackyard Heroes” series on Instagram, a rehab equipment shop and a weekly exercise program for patients of the clinic. There will be more to come, please stay tuned!

Looking forward to good things, together!

Ben Mather | Practice Principal

Stack St Physio

Leave A Comment

Book an Appointment