COVID- 19 Pandemic
COVID-19 Updates and Resources
ACCLXT Registrants should utilize reputable information when making decisions about their practice and personal situation. Registrants can access the following websites for up to date information, in addition to their local news channels/stations and municipal websites.
All community care employers must have written workplace policies and procedures established to address the COVID-19 pandemic response. All community health care settings are expected to develop and implement policies and if were closed as per CMOH order, must have these in procedures in place prior to re-opening.
Click the link below to view a guide from the Government of Alberta regarding reopen guidelines
The policies should include topics such as:
- COVID-19 Specific Workplace Considerations
Symptomatic staff and volunteers
- Symptomatic clients/patients
- Staff, volunteers or clients/patients diagnosed with COVID-19
- Cleaning and disinfecting
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Physical Distancing and Gathering Requirements
As an employee in Alberta, you have a right to work in an environment that is safe and healthy. You and your employer must both take reasonable steps to protect health and safety under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. You can refer to the Alberta government website for specific information.
As a registrant of the ACCLXT, you must also follows standards of practice, which state that you must follow as legislation, regulations and employer policies as outlined and understand the importance of your role in preventing the risk of transmission of infection.
Some additional things to keep in mind:
- All non-essential travel outside Canada should be cancelled, as per the Government of Canada’s travel advisory.
- Be aware of CMOH Order 05-2020 which states that any person who is a confirmed case of COVID-19 or has COVID-like symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat) must be in isolation.
We have had some inquiries from registrants about their practice, COVID-19, and when they should be reporting co-workers if they are not self-distancing or self-isolating.
As stated in our update on March 20th, ACCLXT Registrants must uphold their Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics at all times, which includes reporting an ACCLXT registrant or a registrant of any College who may be putting the public at risk by not following COVID-19 mandatory self distance and /or self-isolation requirements.
This information has also been reiterated by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) in that College’s need to emphasize that following public health directives regarding COVID-19 is not a recommendation but a required professional obligation.
While most will meet their obligations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, registrants need to understand their mandatory reporting obligations, should the need arise. Further, the ACCLXT is prepared to utilize our authority to impose interim suspensions (or conditions) in the event that we have grounds to believe that a registrant is acting in a manner that puts public at risk for increased transmission of COVID-19.
For example, if you attend work displaying listed COVID-19 symptoms, and are sent home by your employer, the employer is obligated to report this information to the College. This report will be viewed as a formal complaint, and proceed as per Part 4, Conduct, in the HPA. If your fitness to practice is deemed compromised, you may be given an interim permit suspension and in following the lead of the provincial government, there may also be fines assessed for not following the current public health order.
It is imperative that you stay up to date with and follow all public health directives which include:
- Mandatory 14-day self-isolation for returning international travellers or close contacts of people with confirmed COVID-19.
- Mandatory 10-day self-isolation for people with symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition: cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat.
Detailed information can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
All healthcare providers, especially frontline professionals like CLXT’s, may be faced with new and extraordinary circumstances every time they step into their facility/site/clinic etc. Some question may arise like:
“What if I feel unsafe providing care?”
“Am I going to get into trouble for doing things out of the norm?”
“What if they send me to a new site?”
Refusal of care of an infected patient(s)
During a pandemic, you need to make sure that you are providing care using safety precautions; however, there is still a duty to provide not only safe but competent, compassionate and ethical care to the public. ( Code of Ethics: 1.0 Ethical Obligations to the public)
It’s also vital that you’re supported to take account of your own safety and wellbeing. Employers (including private community clinics and Alberta Health Services) are also providing support and guidance to healthcare professionals at this time so that you may continue to provide professional services to your patients.
New practice requests
While this may seem difficult at times, a pandemic situation calls for extraordinary effort from all healthcare personnel, including stepping out of daily routines or standard practice settings.
When faced with new or out of the norm practice requests, ask yourself the following:
- Is the request ethical?
- Does this work serve the greater good?
- Do I have the competencies I need to do this work safely? If not, can I quickly refresh the competencies I need through employer supports, training, or other means?
If the answer to these questions is “YES”, you should consider doing what has been asked of you by public health or by your employer. While we understand that sometimes the first reaction to a sudden change in professional practice can be to cling to the security and comfort of our routine, our regulatory standards are designed to provide a framework for decision-making in a wide range of situations. By using professional judgment, working in collaboration with other healthcare workers serving the best interests of patients and practicing within the limits of your competence, you may continue to provide essential care to Albertans during this pandemic.
Working at a different site
Another aspect that may require you to step out of your daily routine is being asked to work in an entirely new employment site. Temporary re-deployment is a legitimate employer practice to ensure they can meet the needs of the public they serve every day. You and your employer have accountability to ensure patients are receiving safe and competent care. It is also imperative to note that a public health emergency, such as a pandemic, is not a usual circumstance. This fast-evolving situation may result in a different decision at a different time.
As in any practice setting, CLXT’s are responsible and accountable for the care they provide and must practice to their level of competence. Although there are elements of knowledge and entry-level competencies that cross all patients’ groups and practice areas, a CLXT, for example, may only be able to do part of a procedure or process in the re-deployment setting.
If placed in a new site, you need to assess and communicate the areas and procedures in which you are competent to practice. The discussion with the manager could include asking for things like
- an orientation to the new practice setting,
- outlining expectations of them in this situation,
- support and training to quickly refresh competencies (if required) and
- an experienced staff member to be a buddy to answer questions when needed.
NOTE: All personal and health services were ordered suspended on Friday March 27th, 2020. For detailed information review the CMOH Order
In an attempt to curb mixed messaging or misinformation when discussing the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly recommend that registrants keep up to date with and refer to credible resources (resource section of this page) when providing information to co-workers, patients or on social media platforms.
For example, there appears to be information spreading that all non-essential services are required to close and face fines if they stay open. As of 1:30 pm on March 22, 2020, Alberta Health has not recommended that any businesses close to protect the public health from COVID-19. All businesses must self-assess and find alternate ways to organize large group meetings and employ mitigation strategies to limit risk.
This also applies to personal and health services. At this time, there are no restrictions on health services like chiropractors and physiotherapists and personal services such as hairdressers, tattoo parlours or massage services. These providers must take preventative measures such as implement thorough cleaning procedures, provide handwashing stations for staff and clients upon entry and ask customers if they are feeling sick and recommend those who are to follow guidelines for those experiencing symptoms.
All of this information is listed clearly on https://www.alberta.ca/restrictions-for-mass-gatherings.aspx and was reinterred by Dr Dina Hinshaw, CMO, while on teleconference call Monday, March 21, 2020, with all the Health Regulatory Colleges.
While there may questions, concerns or disagreement with government decisions, there is a professional obligation on registrants to make sure that they are not knowingly spreading misinformation during this uncertain and stressful time.
Healthcare providers MUST (no longer a recommendation)
- self isolate for a period of 14 days (or until a swab shows a negative result) if there is confirmation of a close contact exposure to COVID-19
DEFINITION OF CLOSE CONTACTS Individuals that:
• provided care for the case, including healthcare workers, family members or other caregivers, or who had other similar close physical contact without consistent and appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE), OR
• lived with or otherwise had close prolonged contact (within two metres) with a person while the case was ill, OR
• had direct contact with infectious body fluids of a person (e.g. was coughed or sneezed on) while not wearing recommended PPE.
- 10 days (or longer if symptoms last past 10 days) if they have mild symptoms.
You may be required to self isolate due to a close contact exposure and on day 8 of 14 you get mild symptoms. At this point, you move from healthy and waiting into the 10-day isolation requirement. If you get the nasal swab and it is determined that you are COVID-19 negative, you will still need to stay isolated for the recommended time of your illness (cold, flu etc.) If you are unable to get tested, or if your test results are not back before the mandatory period, you must stay isolated for the entire 10 days or longer if your symptoms continue past 10 days.
In today’s COVID-19 update from Dr. Dina Hinshaw, Alberta Chief Medical Officer, she stated that all healthcare providers have a professional obligation to follow self-isolation protocols.
This means that all ACCLXT Registrants must uphold their Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics and ensure that they are following COVID-19 protocols provided by Alberta’s Public Health officials.
As of March 20th, listed below are requirements for self-isolation.
Returned before March 12
Travellers returning from Italy, Iran, China’s Hubei province and the Grand Princess cruise ship should self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
Travellers returning from other countries outside Canada should monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
Returning after March 12
All travellers returning from outside Canada should self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
If you develop symptoms – cough, fever or difficulty breathing – stay home and complete the online COVID-19 self-assessment. Do not go to the ER or doctor's office.
Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.
Notify workplace health and safety if you think you may be sick with COVID-19.
Dr Hinshaw also advised patients to contact health regulatory colleges if they see a health care professional not following the expected COVID-19 requirements and protocols.
Likewise, if you are aware of an ACCLXT registrant or a registrant of any College practicing with:
- COVID-19 symptoms
- after testing positive for COVID-19, or
- not self-isolating after returning from travel outside Canada
that person is not fit to pratice. They must be reported to thier respected college as thier ability to provide safe care is affected.
As the ACCLXT’s mandate is to protect the public, complaints of this nature will be taken very seriously. If a Registrant is found to be non- compliant , the College will take immediate action to remedy the situation.
The ACCLXT is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and hope that you, your family and your community are safe and healthy and remain so.
As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, steps have been taken to minimize the risk of transmission while ensuring the continued operation of the ACCLXT. Increased precautions to protect the health and safety of our staff, registrants and the public are in place and effective noon, March 20, 2020, the ACCLXT staff is moving all operations remotely and online.
NOTE: If a need arises to increase our pandemic response, there may be operational disruptions as resources may need to be re-allocated, and delays placed on non-essential work.
The ACCLXT will continue to communicate with and follow updates from Alberta Health and Government to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place for our registrants, employers and the public.
Thank you for your understanding as the ACCLXT works to fulfill our public protection mandate amid these unprecedented times and will continue to keep all stakeholders informed as the COVID-19 outbreak evolves.