Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Revised August 16, 2021

Revised direction on practicing under eased pandemic restrictions was approved by Council on July 6, 2021. Eased practice measures are effective July 8, 2021. Further discussion has taken place and Council has implemented further amendments to the Direction, effective August 17, 2021. Below is an updated FAQ to reflect these changes.

What about returning toys, magazines and other materials to waiting rooms?

Updated August 16, 2021

Items that cannot be effectively cleaned and disinfected between use must not be present in the clinic environment. This includes but is not limited to exercise equipment if it cannot be properly disinfected, items with porous fabric upholstery, and treatment beds with torn surfaces or patched with tape. 

Toys that are non-porous, smooth, minimally textured, and able to withstand frequent and rigorous cleaning and disinfection are now allowed in waiting rooms as of August 17, 2021. For cleaning and disinfecting procedures for toys, please review the updated ACAC Direction for providing services under eased pandemic restrictions. 

Why are we still required to do all this when the rest of the province is back to normal?

We are a regulated health profession, and as such, are expected to uphold the highest standard in ensuring public health and safety.  

 

How long will these requirements and recommendations be in effect?

The ACAC Registrar and Council will review this guide by mid-August and will adjust them to be inline with new requirements or recommendations from the CMOH, Alberta Health and Occupational Health and Safety.

 

Why keep the screening question, everyone knows what to do…

We are aware that continuing to screen patients is an additional step and that some view it as unnecessary. However, screening is more important now than ever as it supports OH&S standards for providing a safe workplace for yourself and your staff.

 

If I don’t have to mask at the grocery store, why do I have to mask in clinic?

Dr. Hinshaw has asked all regulated health professionals to do everything in their power to protect community health. Unlike workers in a grocery store, chiropractors are consistently in close contact with their patients, which elevates the risk of transmission. While the requirement for masking is a recommendation only, masking is a proven way to reduce and protect against transmission.

 

Why is eye protection still recommended?

Currently, the ACAC strongly recommends chiropractors and staff in all practice settings continue to utilize eye protection if they are providing direct patient care within two meters.

 

Did you even hear our comments from the ThoughtExchange?

The Registrar reviewed all comments put into the ThoughtExchange and is taking them into consideration. However, those comments must be balanced against recommendations and expectations from Alberta Health, and what we know is best for public health.
 

What should I do if a patient, or staff, refuses to wear a mask for treatment?

The decision to treat unmasked patients is the purview of the practitioner providing care. You can take proven steps to reduce risk, such as ensuring the patient is actively screened prior to entering the clinic environment, performing point-of-care assessments, making appointments as opposed to walk-in care whenever possible, using transparent barriers such as a face shield to cover the face, having clinic staff wear masks and other PPE, designate clinic space and specific treatment times for unmasked patient consultation and treatment.

 

What are other regulated health professionals doing?/ My RMT/physio/other is not required to do these things, why is the College being so strict?

Each regulated health professional is being asked to uphold the act in the interest of the public’s health. Even though there are no public restrictions, we are still in a pandemic and have a responsibility to provide safe, ethical care that considers the pandemic environment. The recommendations and requirements made by the ACAC were created with guidance from AHS and from our mandate of protecting the public.

 

Where do I get information on preparing an OHS plan?

Additional information about OHS requirements and legislation can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/occupational-health-safety.aspx

Why the increased discussion about OHS risks and planning now? 

OHS signaled to all regulated health professions last year that they would start to be more active in our sector. Regulated members of the ACAC who employ Albertans are accountable to the Occupational Health and Safety Act as employers. The ACAC is reminding you of your obligation to ensure that regulated members understand that beyond the requirements to practice, they have requirements as employers. OHS requires that employers have plans for a safe work environment, that staff are educated on those plans, and have the opportunity to ask questions. 
 
One key consideration at this time for employers is that COVID-19 is a potential biohazard in the workplace, and you are well advised to develop OHS plans and policies that reflect employee safety.

What do I do if I know or suspect I have been exposed to COVID-19?

Chiropractors are advised to make themselves aware of the current isolation and quarantine rules for individuals who are fully or partially vaccinated, unvaccinated, and/or who are identified as a close contact to an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. Similarly, chiropractors are advised to monitor the page 8 of 14 rules related to quarantine following international travel for individuals who are fully, partially or unvaccinated.
 

What documentation should be recorded in the patient file regarding COVID-19 screening?

After patients have been actively screened a record should be made.
 

What cleaning and disinfecting products should I use? Can I use hand sanitizer from a local company?

Chiropractors are directed to check the Health Canada database to confirm that the virucide in use is effective against COVID-19. If using bleach, follow label directions for proper dilution ratios. 
 

What should I use to perform hand hygiene?

Hand hygiene can be completed using alcohol-based hand rub (minimum 60% alcohol content), or through hand washing using soap and water. However, when hands are visibly soiled, they must be cleaned with soap and water as opposed to using alcohol-based hand rub.

 

Do members need to wear masks, eye protection, or other PPE when treating patients? 

While not a requirement, the ACAC strongly recommends chiropractors and staff in all practice settings continue to utilize masks and eye protection if they are providing direct patient care within two metres. 

Do my patients have to wear masks?  

At this time, patient use of masks in community health settings has not been mandated by the CMOH. As such, regulated members are able to make their own decision about whether patients are required to mask in their clinic. 

How do I secure PPE?

The Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) has secured a national distributor with access to appropriate masks, Health Canada approved hand sanitizer, and other PPE that you may wish to purchase. Go to www.officedeals.co and remember to enter CHIROSTRONG before checking out to receive your discount. You will also need your CCA member ID. Alberta Chiropractors who know or have been presented with other opportunities to procure PPE, provide that information to the ACAC for posting on the ACAC marketplace.
 

Can I practice acupuncture?

Chiropractors authorized to perform the restricted activity of acupuncture by the ACAC may currently practice this modality, provided they continue to employ the highest standards of aseptic practice. This change is reflected in the Introduction section of the directive.
 

Can I practice Telehealth?

Telehealth is part of the strategy to reduce in-person contact by providing treatments or consultations via telecommunication. To practice Telehealth, chiropractors must first obtain approval from the ACAC. 
 

Reminder from the Registrar on advertising

Chiropractors should avoid making any unsubstantiated claims concerning the role of chiropractic care in preventing or managing COVID-19, immunity, or related viral infections, as per Standard of Practice 1.1. The ACAC is monitoring social media and online content to ensure compliance with advertising standards. Failure to comply may lead to a complaint.

A regulated member must not provide their opinion, discussion, or commentary on vaccines. Regulated members should respond to questions from patients on COVID19 immunization by directing all patient questions, consultation, and education regarding immunization and vaccination to the appropriate public health authorities and/or health professional whose scope of practice includes vaccination. 

Regulated members should not promote their vaccination status in any marketing, including but not limited to websites, social media, or in-office signage/materials which states if the regulated member and/or their employees have or have not received a COVID-19 vaccination. If a regulated member has any marketing which includes this information, the regulated member is required to remove it as soon as possible.
 

Can I practice mobile chiropractic, such as house calls during the pandemic?

Effective May 25, 2020, upon motion from Council, mobile chiropractic during COVID-19 is permitted with compliance with the requirements of the Pandemic Practice Directive. Patient preference to receive mobile chiropractic does not mean mobile chiropractic is appropriate from a risk/benefit perspective. Considering COVID-19, the risks must be verbally disclosed to patients and how these risks are mitigated. If the risk cannot be mitigated for both patient and chiropractor, then treatment must not occur regardless of setting.
  

Who should I contact if I have questions?

If you have questions, please contact the ACAC at [email protected] and we will respond to you as quickly as possible. If you have a question, it’s likely that other chiropractors are having the same question. We’ll answer your question if we can, follow up with the Government on anything that requires further investigation and continue to update you on any news.