Presidents' Message - Updated MNZ Health & Hygiene Brief
13 May 2020
Today Massage New Zealand (MNZ) Executive Committee members attended another Allied Health Aotearoa New Zealand (AHANZ) meeting, led by Martin Chadwick, Chief Allied Health Officer appointed by Ministry of Health (MoH). The messages delivered, echoed that of our guidance to date, whilst providing some clarity around what we can do as massage therapists. The measures as previously mentioned, pre-screen when booking is made, re-screen before entering clinic, hand hygiene is vital, as is continued good clinic hygiene, with greater cleaning frequency.
Have they had COVID-19? Have they got any symptoms? Any new or worsening symptoms? Are they a high-risk individual? Have they travelled recently? Have they been in contact with a diagnosed COVID-19 case or someone directly in contact with a confirmed case?
Clinical judgement is required by massage therapists to decide whether their client is low risk and okay to receive massage, based on thorough screening and health status (i.e. No answered to all above COVID-19 questions). Masks can be chosen to be worn if in very close contact for long periods of time (less than 1 meter & greater than 15 minutes), but this is up to the massage therapist and client. If either feels more comfortable to wear a mask, that is okay, maybe it is for comfort and anxiety reasons. We do not wish to put vulnerable people at risk, so if you think they may be even slightly more at risk (70+), they can be offered a mask. It was said in the meeting that there is no supportive evidence to recommend wearing masks, if screening was applied appropriately. Therapists must also apply the screening process to themselves, to reduce risk.
N95 masks were deemed unnecessary, unless aerosol generating procedures were undertaken. Massage therapists should not be doing these! Surgical masks can be used at the individual's discretion. A key risk with masks is not knowing how to apply (don) and remove (doff) and the reduced hand hygiene, due to less hand washing and misguided thoughts around safety, thinking the mask prevents face touching. Hand hygiene is vital! Learn how to apply and remove masks, via the Government websites, if you plan on using them.
Gloves are only required if in contact with bodily fluids. We are not expecting this for massage therapists, and recommend against intra-oral techniques at this time, until further evidence emerges.
The Government will be collating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) advice to make it easier to decipher, and updating on their pages over the next few days…. hopefully.
70+ clients can be seen, if thorough screening and precautions are considered, as above. A lot of people have said they have "healthy" 70+ clients. Let's keep this more vulnerable group safe and be very considerate of the risks. We want to keep them thriving!
As mentioned in earlier emails, we never know how long a level may last. Today's message was, "we are going to be in level 2 for a considerable length of time". It WILL change as more evidence emerges. We must be open to learning, adapting and sharing.
Thank you for your patience with us, as we try to get some accurate, useful guidance out. We know it's a very stressful time. We're with you and we appreciate all the positive support that has come our way!
Click on the PDF attachment below to access the updated MNZ Health and Hygiene Brief.
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