Biokinetics consultations during the COVID-19 lock-down in South Africa
The purpose of the lock-down in South Africa is to promote social distancing by enforcing isolation. The lock-down is intended to limit the spread of the virus and to prepare the health system to cope with the increased demand on resources.
Biokineticists are registered medical professionals with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). Registered HPCSA medical professionals fall into the “essential services” category during lock-down. An “essential service” is defined in regulation 11A, based on section 213 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 as “a service, the interruption of which endangers the life, personal safety or health of the whole or any part of the population”. According to the HPCSA practitioners are expected to observe or comply with the lock-down regulations and utilise their professional/clinical judgement in determining what constitutes an essential service in accordance with the scope of their profession.
As a result biokineticists may treat patients that are in need of assistance provided that i) the treatment is in the patient’s best interest, ii) the lack of treatment (withdrawal of treatment) would have a deleterious effect on the patient’s health and well-being, and iii) the treatment would not bring the health of the greater community into jeopardy.
Unfortunately there will never be a “business-as-usual” scenario. Biokineticists, however, are allowed to use their clinical judgement with regards to the patients they treat. Face-to-face consultations should be reserved for individuals who require essential treatment to assist with their condition / prevent their condition from getting worse. Other patients are encouraged to use telehealth wherever possible.
In the event that your condition warrants a face-to-face consultation then the biokineticist is required to adhere to strict principles that ensure your safety. Safety directives and protocols issued by the Minister of Health, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and Provincial Departments of Health, National or any other South African healthcare authority will need to be followed.
In summary, there needs to be an assessment of the risk-benefit ratio during the COVID-19 lock-down. Only patients that would be negatively affected by the lack of direct supervision can be seen for face-to-face biokinetics sessions. Telehealth biokinetics sessions are recommended for all other scenarios.
Terms and conditions: Neil Hopkins COVID-19 informed consent
COVID-19 pre-participation questions: Telephone triage
Telehealth terms: Neil Hopkins Biokinetics telehealth
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