Getting back to SLT after lockdown
Just like everyone, this pandemic has had it’s ups and downs for me.
On the positive side, it allowed me time to stop, play with my children more, spend the most time ever with my husband and really think about what I wanted for my life.
The not so positive, apart from the fear and worry about family and friends was that I had recently given up my steady specialist role in the NHS to become an independent Speech and Language Therapist.
I had literally just started to get into full swing as an independent Speech and Language Therapist and then lockdown came. It was a blow! Small in the grand scheme of things but I was very disappointed.
It threw me for a few days. My immediate reaction was to cry, panic and throw myself into trying to keep working and worrying about the future.
But as things began to unfold and it was looking like this might be for a while, I relaxed. There was nothing that I could do apart from strive to keep working hard for my clients that could access teletherapy and use this time to focus on my family and our wellbeing. If I had the headspace to plan or sort a few things out, that was going to be a bonus.
As we started to come out of lockdown, I was lucky enough to be part of a working group with the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice, reviewing the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapist’s guidance:
I‘ve developed my own Covid protocol which includes a consent form, a risk assessment, following government PPE guidelines and making sure clients know exactly what to expect from session with regards to the precautions.
I've become an expert in different types of masks required for different sessions, the definition of aerosol generating procedures and how to get hold of the certain types of masks for those that are currently like gold dust.
Slowly, slowly, I started to see some clients face to face. These were clients who were low risk or clients that really couldn't access me via tele therapy but the benefit of a session was going to be high.
While the weather was good in late June, I mostly held my sessions out in clients' gardens which was a new experience!
As the lockdown continues to be lifted for now, I am mainly back to face to face interactions. This week will be my first week seeing clients in care homes - following government PPE guidelines of course.
It’s so good to be back to some normality.
As someone that focuses on improving communication skills for their day job, there’s nothing like face to face interaction, even if it’s a masked interaction in some sessions!