How a physiotherapy clinic can help protect the health and safety of its patients

How can a physiotherapy clinic operate in the current COVID-19 situation? What measures must be taken to ensure each patient’s safety as they exercise? Our latest blog explains the measures taken at the Nordic Health clinic in Helsinki, Finland to keep the clinic open and helping patients train in a safe, hygienic environment. The clinic caters to a significant population of risk group patients, so strict measures have been taken. Please keep this in mind when considering how these processes fit best to your own exercise therapy practice. 


The current situation has turned Helsinki’s Nordic Health clinic on its head. But with the right protocols and measures, the physiotherapy clinic has been able to keep its doors open and continue treating patients with musculoskeletal pain. These include a new operational process and stricter cleaning measures to ensure the health and safety of all therapists and patients alike. It is important to note that the protocols are very strict at Nordic Health because so many of the patients belong in the coronavirus risk group.


How the physiotherapy clinic operates during these extraordinary times

At the Nordic Health clinic, each patient signs up for their own individual training session that lasts for 1 hour and 15 minutes. During this time, the clinic is only open to the individual to ensure a clinically clean environment. Also, couples, or those living under the same household, can reserve a training time together, which helps free up time slots for others. The clinic’s staff are still close by in a separate room and can communicate with the training patient at all times.

In addition, patients can contact the clinic’s staff via telephone, video call for virtual guidance, and through the clinic’s webpage. “It is important that we are there for our patients when they train to continue offering guidance and motivational support” says Sirkka, the clinic’s manager. “These exercise opportunities have become so important for our customers that we have extended the hours so the time slots begin early in the morning and go late into the night.”


The exercise opportunities are so important for our customers, we have had to add more time slots.


For individualized and direct guidance of a patient, the therapist or trainer will follow the same hygienic guidelines provided below. Both patient and trainer will have face masks and single-use gloves on to significantly decrease the chance of germs and bacteria spreading.


Single-use gloves help keep areas such as the device touchscreens clean.


How to instruct the patients during their training session

Patients with any signs or symptoms of illness are not able to train at the clinic. In addition, those who are traveling from abroad or have been in contact with a COVID patient are not allowed to exercise at the clinic for 14 days. These measures are highly important to ensure the health and safety or clinic staff and patients.

When a patient enters the clinic to exercise, they must follow the following rules. By doing so, the clinic can keep operating and providing care to its patients.

Instructions for the patient:

  1. Leave outdoor shoes at the door and go directly to the changing rooms to change into your exercise clothes. Do not sign into the clinic at this point.
  2. Avoid touching door handles when possible.
  3. Wash your hands with soap and after drying your hands, use hand sanitizer.
  4. Put on the cotton or vinyl single-use gloves.
  5. Sign in at the EVE Kiosk to begin your training session.
  6. Sign out at the EVE Kiosk once your session is complete.
  7. Place the single-use gloves in the provided trash bins, collect your belongings, and leave the clinic at least 5 minutes before your designated time is over. This allows air ventilation to change the air properly.


The patients are also reminded to take these important measures:

  • Before and after training on the 140, 150, 160, and 260 DAVID devices, remember to disinfect the device pads or areas which are in close contact with your face.
  • Use the water fountain and single-use cups. The virus lives on plastic surfaces for several days, so if you do use your own water bottle wash it carefully with soap while washing your hands.
  • If you need to sneeze/cough or use the restroom during your training session, put the gloves in the trash bin, wash your hands carefully, and take new gloves once you continue training.


How to properly clean and disinfect the physiotherapy clinic

Cleaning and disinfecting the clinic properly is an important measure which ensures a safe and hygienic training environment. Again, because of the risk group patients, the Nordic Health clinic has a very carefully planned cleaning procedure. In addition to the outlined protocol explained below, the clinic’s usual specialized cleaning personnel cleans all of the surfaces including windows, floors, devices, carpets, etc. When anyone enters the clinic’s training area, it is important they wear the right protective gear including a face mask and single-use gloves.


NH patient wipes down critical parts of the G150 device before and after training.


The clinic’s staff does two cleaning + disinfecting sessions every day. One is a full thorough cleaning of all surfaces and DAVID exercise therapy devices called “Effective full cleaning”. The second cleaning goes over the critical areas for a second time, called “Critical surface cleaning”. Here, the cleaning focuses on door handles, device screens, other surfaces with constant contact, the restrooms, and any surfaces which a patient or therapist may touch without gloves.

Thorough cleaning of the DAVID devices is important in order to keep the clinic’s aseptic standards high. The protocol for this is written out and easy to follow.

Because of the nature of the Coronavirus, every surface is cleaned first with hot water and a disinfectant liquid specially used for greasy surfaces. The water is also changed frequently so that the water stays hot. “The COVID-19 virus acts like grease on a pan, so keep this in mind when cleaning surfaces”.


The coronavirus acts like grease on a pan, so keep this in mind when cleaning surfaces.


Remember to carefully wipe down all handles, as well as pads and device parts which are in direct contact or very close to the patient’s face. “After wiping down the devices, we also use a disinfectant spray with paper to go over the main areas that are in close contact with the patient” explains Sirkka.

Hand sanitizer, cleaning sprays and tissue paper, as well as gloves are kept in all areas of the clinic so that they are readily at hand for the patient. Cleaning rags are also kept separate for each different area of the clinic.


Clinic procedures will change as the situation evolves

“The most important thing to remember is to do everything to guarantee that each patient has a safe environment to train and exercise at our physiotherapy clinic” says Sirkka. The clinic is currently working to provide protective masks for patients so that more people can train at once.


The most important thing is to guarantee that each patient has a safe environment to train and exericse.


It is important to note that once the Coronavirus situation evolves and restrictions ease up, the clinic will begin adding more training session possibilities, with more patients training simultaneously a few times a week.


Sirkka exercises on the David G140 Cervical Extension / Lateral Flexion Machine


Stay tuned for more information about clinic protocols and procedures! We will continue to share best practices through our blog and social media channels to provide up-to-date and relevant guidance for our global clinic partners and customers.


Visit our COVID-19 page


Annika Järvinen
Marketing & Sales Associate