Coronavirus has changed our lives in dramatic ways. It is now scary to go outside, see friends and family, hug, shake hands, or do anything that makes us social. This virus has disrupted the fundamental strength of being human- communicating and forming strong connections.
The infectious disease experts have recommended several strategies to reduce infection rates such as improved hygiene, avoiding crowds, wearing masks, increase access to testing, and, what will hopefully save us from this nightmare, develop a vaccine.
While we live in a COVID-19 world, social distancing is now the abnormal norm. This can be practiced by trying to keep a 6-foot distance from others, but many find the safest practice is to socially isolate and remain in the house away from people. It seems unlikely to become infected or infect others if you “shelter in place” and quarantine. These precautions should be taken seriously if you are immunocompromised, have heart and lung medical conditions or if you are older than 60 years.
Unfortunately, shelter in place and social isolation can make one feel lonely, down, and depressed. It will lead to less physical activity and decreased exercise. This is a major problem for individuals living with chronic pain.
Philadelphia Smart Pain & Wellness takes infection prevention practices seriously, but we also stand by our mission and place vital importance on treating pain. We do not want our patients to get worse during this crisis. We are here for you and have made changes in our practice so we can make our care safe and accessible.
We now practice telemedicine. We have expanded our hours of operation and are using the platform doxy.me to provide office visits from the safety of your home. Doxy.me is a HIPPA compliant, secure video chat program that allows the doctor to see you during the remote visit just like being face-to-face in the office. While it is not the same experience as meeting in the office, this is a convenient option to maintain care during these uncertain times. We will assign a telemedicine office visit date and time. We will send you a link on your phone or email to our virtual “waiting room.” You do not have to download any programs and it should work easily on any computer and smartphone.
We are open and ready to see you in person in safe office and surgery center settings. We have made changes to ensure there is no crowding and to obsessively clean all surfaces throughout the day. To do this, we ask that all patients when they arrive at the office to call our front desk number (215-366-2803) from the car prior to coming in. Our staff will inform if it is safe to come into the office as we want to avoid patients congregating. We require all patients to wear masks upon entering the office and that they immediately use hand sanitizer once walking through the door. We will ask gloves from the outside are thrown out. We will immediately room each patient and we will conduct our visit with as much social distance as possible. After the visit, the staff uses sanitary wipes to clean and sterilize all surfaces. We hope these processes will ensure safety when coming into the office.
Last, our emphasis on lifestyle change is critically important, particularly when gyms are closed and physical therapy offices have decreased availability. We have curated home exercise program guides. In addition, we now offer a new program called Neuroflow. This is a downloadable app, free of charge, that provides resources to help address chronic pain from the convenience of your phone. Mental health requires serious attention during these anxious times. Neuroflow provides activities and exercises to focus on mood and stress management. These options help us adapt to a social distancing care model and efforts like these will allow us to maintain our care during this crisis.
We will get through this, but we do not know how long it will last. It is a privilege to provide care for our patients and we aim to provide the best possible care even during these unpredictable challenges face together.