There’s a lot to be said for flexible thinking in the times we are living in. Not only do we work on it with our clinic friends, we embrace and live it.
On Tuesday, June 14 we re-opened our clinic doors after months of only providing online therapy. Like much of the world, our staff worked remotely and did all of our meetings and therapy over Zoom. Yet, some of our clinic kids weren’t ideal candidates for online therapy. We knew we needed to find a way to get the doors open on our brick-and-mortar clinic in a way that was safe for in-person therapy for our kids and staff. We took weeks to rethink our processes to limit contact and the spread of any germs. We took photos and created a social story to help our clinic friends adapt to what a visit to the clinic looks like now. We culled through toys and games, keeping only the ones we could easily clean and disinfect. We set a date to reopen and felt ready. Given that I’m still working remotely, it felt natural to get the story from the folks who were set to be in the re-opened clinic…
Our first week at the clinic felt like a comedy of errors. Or, I’m picturing it like a family station wagon, packed and ready to go on a road trip. Everyone is excited and ready… but a wheel falls off right before departure. This new normal is truly a day-by-day thing, and I’m still amazed at how much flexibility we have to have in shaping our daily lives around this virus.
In weeks leading up to this, we did a massive cleaning and pitching of old toys and such and tried to give the clinic a refresh, despite it feeling empty without the rest of our clinic staff. We put hours into discussing and putting together safety protocols but have had a pretty slow start to things. Tuesday, we saw two clients in person, and the rest will be online for this week. Both Laura and Sarah have had cold symptoms, so we’re making responsible decisions to keep everyone safe and healthy by staying home and prioritizing teletherapy services.
All in all, our clients have been very understanding and happy to hear that we’re being responsible in our decisions to stay home if we have any feelings of sickness. We’re taking things one day at a time and moving forward as best we can.
Well said, Lauren! It did feel like a comedy of errors: National Lampoon’s COVID Clinic. ? But, cheers to us for being able to pivot and adapt to the constant changes and unexpected variables and still provide quality service to our families. And they are being so understanding and flexible too!
I agree with Lauren! It has taken a lot of preparation, and in some ways, it seems like we are making it up as we go along with little guidance from the state or government. I think we were able to develop a plan and protocols that we all feel safe and comfortable with, and it has been a real team effort as we work through all the details that come up (like what to do when you have mild cold symptoms the day before you are supposed to be in-clinic). Even if the first week was a very “soft opening,” it feels good knowing that we have a good baseline for the ups and downs the next few months/years will bring.
I had one client in person on Tuesday. The new check-in procedure went well, and once we were in my treatment room it felt like a typical session, although one with masks and fewer materials available. One positive was being able to engage in pretend play with shared toys with a client, which is not really possible over teletherapy. For that client, while it was harder to work on articulation without being able to see his mouth or model with mine due to our masks, we were able to target more play-based goals, which was a welcomed change.
It definitely has been an interesting process! I’ve only seen one kiddo in person but it was a great change of pace from teletherapy. It worked out perfectly because this friend needed to work on tolerating a mask and washing hands, so seeing him in person to practice these skills was super functional.
Who knows what the coming weeks hold, but with such great staff and equally great clients, we have faith that we’re all going to make it through this!