Tuesday 21st April 2020
NZ Chiropractors Available Online During Lockdown and Level 3
New Zealand Chiropractors are able to provide online consultations to Kiwis and give advice on how to keep their spines mobile and healthy during the COVID-19 lockdown and beyond.
Running, cycling, online workouts and DIY are hugely popular at the moment as New Zealanders adjust to isolation at home and find ways to keep fit and busy. But ACC and other parts of the health service are concerned that these sudden bouts of activity will lead to a spike in injuries putting undue pressure on the system.
As Dr Cassandra Fairest, chiropractor and Vice President of the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association explains: `Normally, you’d book an appointment to visit your health care practitioner, but during COVID-19, unfortunately you can’t just walk into a practice. Thankfully, Telehealth is a way to see your chiropractor without leaving your home. It’s injury-prevention and professional health advice in your living room.’
Dr Fairest says Telehealth has been on the horizon for years, but COVID-19 has accelerated the process of getting the practice into clinics and the public familiar with it.
She adds: ‘Although we’re not able to use our hands during a Telehealth session, chiropractors are highly trained in all manners of physical assessment. Even with simple visual exams, a detailed case history and clinical reasoning, there’s a great deal that can be done to advise, help and reassure in a Telehealth session. Via video links, we’re able to assess overall movement and posture for example. We can also give self-care advice such as tailored stretches or exercises, to help improve areas of tension and increase global function and posture. There’s often a number of simple and effective things you can do to help stay healthy and either get yourself back on track or at least more comfortable, until you’re able to come in for a face-to-face visit as the Alert Levels reduce and restrictions ease.’
‘It’s important to note that we can also assess the likelihood of whether something more problematic is going on.’ Unlike using Google to self-diagnose your problem and getting a dozen confusing or conflicting results, your chiropractor can usually accurately assess your situation. Chiropractors understand that poor movement and function of the spine can lead to overall dysfunction as well as an accumulation of health issues. Maintaining good posture, neurological integrity and movement are essential to wellness. This is particularly important when our normal schedules have been disrupted and patterns of physical, mental and emotional stresses accumulate.
For a Telehealth session, your NZCA chiropractor will provide a link to a secure video chat. Your chiropractor will talk with you about what’s going on, assess how you move and suggest home care for your injury. Most chiropractors during Lockdown and under Level 3 have remote reception services up and running, or will be able to take your call directly. Dr Fairest notes that each practice may vary with the particular systems they use and potential charges, if any, but recommends calling your local NZCA member chiropractor to discuss options.
‘We are encouraging people to take steps to be kind to their spines and nervous systems, to promote ongoing wellness and prevent long term dysfunction and injury in order to reduce the likelihood of problems post-Lockdown.’
NZ Chiropractic Board Telehealth Guidance and Information:
The Telehealth Standard definition – “Telehealth is the use of information and video conferencing technologies, to deliver health services and/or transmit health information to a patient when the clinician is in a different location.”
All Chiropractors providing Telehealth consultations need to meet the following criteria:
- be registered and hold a current Annual Practicing Certificate from the Regulatory Authority
- ensure the use of Telehealth is clinically appropriate
- complete a risk assessment and determine if Telehealth is a safe method of delivery; your risk assessment may need to be continually reviewed
- provide an appropriate standard of service to clients based on their clinical need
- obtain the client’s consent to provide services via Telehealth.