Bodyworks - A year living with Covid-19
Posted on 13th February 2021 at 14:16
Who knew that nearly a year ago we would be forced to close our doors and face an uncertain future? To say it has been an emotional and stressful journey is an understatement and a journey that is continuing into 2021 for all of us.
As soon as we went into lock down, we went online. All our Pilates classes went online, and we had to quickly adapt to life on Zoom. I was lucky to be surrounded by amazing team members, patients, friends, and family. One of my patients kindly gave up 2 hours of her time for me to come and teach me how to set up zoom meetings and classes, I am forever grateful to her for this and can now declare myself the Queen of Zoom!
We contacted everyone in our 19 Pilates classes to see who wanted to continue online thinking it would be for a couple of months only. We are now 11 months further on and still have 9 classes going online with all of our Pilates instructors teaching them. We have had huge support from our instructors and clients and I cannot thank them enough for their patience with us not being able to return to the studio. Most of our clients have now got the equipment at home that we used to use in the studio pre Covid. We have also gone international with clients in Italy, France and Spain!! Many of them have been grateful for being able to keep themselves going with the classes and are really enjoying the sessions. Watch this space for our charity Pilates zoomathon at the end of March!
From the end of March until early June we were unable to see any patients face to face and all our physiotherapy work went online. All our admin staff, Fran, Clare and Faye, worked remotely from home as did Claire, my physio partner in crime throughout this stressful time. I worked on my own from the clinic spending many a day wandering around the clinic talking to myself and ultimately answering myself back after a few weeks – lonely times. I was so pleased when Fran, my Practice Manager came to join me one morning a week, socially distancing of course!
We were really successful with our virtual physio sessions, and still are, which were better than we thought they would be. We have managed to treat patients very successfully completely over zoom with correct diagnosis, advice, and exercises. Our main aim was to help patients get better but to also be able to keep everyone safe.
Many businesses, as well as Bodyworks, faced significant challenges and many very sadly have not survived. These challenges have included access to capital and balancing a business along side balancing work and home lives for me and all my staff. We had to quickly adapt as I said by going online and the internet remains our lifeline helping us to stay afloat during this pandemic.
When Covid hit we had to review all our cleaning policies and procedures and our operations policies along with our risk assessments. I had extra non patient contact time available to do this and created a detailed file of Covid-19 policies and I am proud of how we have successfully made the clinic as safe as we possibly can. We are now on the third version of these policies as we have had to adapt them as the year has gone on. We are continuously monitoring and updating them so that we can make sure that we have the safest environment possible for our patients and team.
Claire came back to the clinic in June when we were able to see patients face to face and we worked together with one admin member. Every patient has to fill in a Covid consent form prior to attending and they are contacted before their first appointment to go through a Covid screen. We have adapted our working day to life with Covid including social distancing, 15 minutes between each patient to allow for adequate cleaning and controlled patient cross-over, patients remain in their car until called, temperatures taken on arrival, masks worn by patients, extensive hand washing (and moisturising!), aprons, gloves, masks and visors worn by the physios. PPE has been a nightmare with difficulty accessing it and price increases. We used to pay £4 a box for gloves, now we pay £12 or more!
Any patients who may be more ‘at risk’ are treated virtually and anyone who is not happy about face to face treatment can also be seen virtually. We have slowly brought back Mellissa and Lee and Caroline has joined us as a new member of staff. We have an amazing team at Bodyworks and they could not have been more supportive if they tried, of that I am so so proud. We have all remained optimistic and have been very resilient throughout the epidemic. All of the clinic staff have now had their first vaccination and we are being tested weekly in order to help keep each other safe and our patients too.
Can I see the light at the end of the tunnel? Yes, I think I can. If you had asked me this 6 months ago I would have said the light was that of an oncoming train. We are still nowhere near where we need to be and sadly are not eligible for any Government grants and weren’t during the first lock down either, but we are fighters and will keep going. We are so lucky that we are still here as many businesses have not been so lucky.
With all your support our optimism and resilience will continue, thank you and please stay safe.
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