Pain Therapy Service Changes
Why these services are suspended during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The safety of our patients is very important to us, so we have increased our health and safety protocols. For that reason, we suggest that if a patient is experiencing flu-like symptoms, or are at risk of having had Novel Coronavirus exposure, or any other potential risk of exposure to COVID—19, they should schedule their appointment for when they have recovered.
In the interim, they should stay home, use the self –assessment tool on the AHS website, and if necessary, call Health Link (811). Also, with immediate effect, if the patient has returned from another country, we recommend they do not attend a Mayfair clinic for 14 days, even in the absence of symptoms.
Mayfair has strict protocols to ensure the safety of employees and patients that attend our clinics for services currently being offered, but we acknowledge and follow the lead of Alberta Public Health that the safest activity is practicing responsible social and physical distancing.
These medical and health and safety considerations have also been important factors in our decision to temporarily suspend pain therapy services and to rebook patients for dates further ahead.
I am in a considerable amount of pain and I believe receiving pain therapy is critical, but your Contact Centre staff have told me it is elective. Why is this?
While we do understand the difficulty in living with chronic pain, pain therapy procedures are largely considered routine or elective and can reasonably be postponed in order to limit unnecessary interactions and lower the risk of potential exposure to COVID-19. In most cases, postponing pain therapy services does not have a significant immediate impact on patients’ outcomes, as pain therapy primarily treats symptoms, not underlying disease.
Is it true that Cortisone can weaken the immune system?
Yes, we have postponed our pain therapy procedures in the interest of patient and community safety, because the injection of cortisone injections can temporarily weaken the immune system of patients and may therefore increase their susceptibility to infections, including viruses. During this time when we are trying to collectively flatten the curve and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and around the world, we have decided that your safety and that of our community is the most immediate priority. This is the most responsible position for us to take at this moment.
Are there any recommendations or directives from governing bodies that you have reviewed in making the decision to temporarily suspend pain therapy services?
Yes, Mayfair’s decision to temporarily pause our provision of pain therapy procedures is also based on recommendations from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, Canadian Association of Radiologists, and Alberta Health Services to avoid elective and non-urgent procedures during the pandemic in order to help blunt the spread of COVID-19.
What does it mean to only provide essential services? How are essential services defined?
Mayfair is currently only offering essential diagnostic imaging services aimed at diagnosing health concerns that require immediate treatment, where a delay in diagnosis would significantly alter the patient’s immediate treatment or where a delay would result in significant or long-term morbidity. This is aligned with Alberta Health Services decision to cancel elective procedures. It also helps limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for our patients and our employees.
What should I do during this time when I am unable to receive pain therapy from Mayfair?
Consistent with the messages that are being broadly shared by the government, the Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services and other health care providers, Mayfair encourages our patients to stay home if possible and rebook their appointments for when the risk of spread and acquiring COVID-19 has lowered. In circumstances of acute or severe pain syndromes, alternative therapies are to be advocated and patients are encouraged to speak with their primary care physicians to discuss additional medical therapies, coping mechanisms and alternative telemedicine specialist consultations or referrals.