Infection control policy and protocols – What you need to know

Our Infection Control Policy is designed to help you understand the practices we take to minimise the risk of clients and practitioners acquiring a healthcare-associated infection and to assist you in making informed decisions. 

Latest update – 22 May 2020.

Best practice

At the time of writing, state and territory government information across Australia states professional massage therapy can be conducted in clinic settings with appropriate risk management measures in place.

This does not currently apply to a workplace setting unless a clinic setting exists within that location. A clinic setting must be an enclosed area separated from the internal workforce.

Seated Massage is staying informed daily via government and professional industry bodies regarding the general provision of massage in workplace/corporate settings.

Seated Massage and the therapists representing them adhere to the Association of Massage Therapists (AMT) Massage Therapy Code of Conduct, including guidelines surrounding Infection Control and Hygiene. Seated Massage are also informed by the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS) updates on current state and territory government policy regarding the current practice of massage therapy and infection control.

All representing Seated Massage therapist partners have completed the Australian Government’s recommended COVID-19 Infection Control Training for Healthcare Workers and have downloaded the Australian Government contact tracing app – COVIDSafe.

Seated Massage requires every representing therapist to hold current professional indemnity insurance, a police check and first-aid certification.

Assumption of risk

The basis of good infection control is to assume that everyone is potentially infectious. Proper procedures including strict risk management are followed at all times.

Therapist testing for COVID-19 as an applied risk management measure is under review by Seated Massage however is unlikely unless therapists are showing symptoms or government requirements change in this regard or clients request testing either privately or onsite at the client site.

Seated Massage therapists agree to be temperature checked upon arrival at each client site visit.

Seated Massage requires their clients to ensure the safety of visiting practitioners. Seated Massage practitioners will provide onsite service only to those who have not displayed any infectious symptoms for the previous 2 weeks and within workplaces displaying infection control.

Standard precautions

Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is considered one of the primary control measures for reducing the spread of infection.

Hand hygiene is essential before and after contact with each client. To further promote hand hygiene, we encourage our therapists to keep their natural nails short and clean.

Seated Massage requires all therapists and wherever possible, all recipients to perform hand hygiene using the correct hand hygiene technique in accordance with World Health Organisation Guidelines. Hand hygiene refers to any action of hand cleansing, such as handwashing or hand rubbing.

Handwashing – Hands must be washed with soap and water when visibly dirty or visibly soiled and after using the toilet.

Hand rubbing – Use of an alcohol-based hand rub is the preferred means for routine hand sterilisation in situations where hands are not visibly soiled. If alcohol-based hand rub is not readily accessible, hands must be washed with soap and water.

Social distancing

Massage is conducted in workplaces only if the recipient and the visiting therapist report as healthy. Maintaining physical distancing of 1.5m is not applicable due to the nature of massage therapy however as stated in this document, risk management by both parties will be strictly followed.

Safe Work Australia current information on social distancing can be viewed here.

Face masks

Seated massage therapists will wear cloth (highly recommended) or disposable face masks if required by clients and/or if the therapist prefers. Multiple layered and filtered cloth masks are suitable for the allied health professional who has close contact with their recipients, exposure to body fluids, and as an asymptomatic safety measure. Masks will be provided by the therapist and/or the client.

Handling of Used Linen

A potential risk exists for microorganism transmission through exposure to contaminated linen. Therapists are required to handle linen in a manner that minimises the transfer of microorganisms to other individuals and the environment. Linen used where direct exposure has taken place during traditional (table) massage is changed with clean linen after each single use.

‘Single-use’ items (e.g. tissues) are disposed of in a manner that minimises the transfer of microorganisms to other individuals and the environment.

No cloth linen is used for any chair massage or roving/at-desk massage sessions. Tissues/disposable covers are used, placed over the sterilised face cushion and are disposed of after each massage for any chair massage and traditional massage sessions.

Equipment Cleanliness

When equipment is required to perform our service, Seated Massage therapists bear the responsibility of equipment cleanliness and sterilisation. This includes attention to the cleaning of shared reusable equipment and ensuring suitable protection where required.

Therapists are requested to routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces using cleaning and sterilising agents (alcohol-based). Disposable alcohol-based wipes or liquid steriliser  (min 70% alcohol/ethanol) should be used to clean any equipment surfaces before each use.

Seated Massage agree to accommodate any reasonable equipment cleanliness requirements of the individual client as required such as the regular cleaning of door handles and other ‘touch-points’.

Acute Respiratory Hygiene

Standard practice is to cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If a tissue is not readily accessible, an elbow or shoulder should be used. Surgimasks are highly likely to be used by visiting therapists as stated above.

To minimise the risk of transmission of infection to others, any therapist presenting with the signs and symptoms of an acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) is required to notify Seated Massage immediately. The therapists will not attend work/client sites until they are free of fever (37.8° C or greater), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines.

Therapists who become unwell, or present with the signs and symptoms of acute respiratory infection during any client site visit will separate themselves from other individuals immediately.

Therapists with an unwell family member or house-mate are required to notify Seated Massage immediately and will require a risk assessment / testing prior to returning to work.

Skin-to-Skin Contact

As stated under Hand Hygiene above, all care is taken by attending therapists to ensure their hands are kept sanitised.

Skin to skin contact occurs with permission from the recipient and can include rear of neck, scalp/head and arms. No hand massage will be conducted for the foreseeable future.

Therapists with any cuts or abrasions will cover them with a waterproof dressing in order to create a barrier to pathogens.

Presenting skin conditions: Therapists will not provide massage with any presenting skin conditions of the hands. Clients/recipients with skin conditions are requested to inform their attending therapist and generally the area affected is avoided.

Therapist personal safety

Seated Massage therapists reserve the right to refuse massage provision to any and all individuals after communication with recipients, the client contact and Seated Massage head office. Seated Massage will only visit client sites that have infection controls in place.

We strongly recommend the wearing of reusable masks when onsite with clients.

We strongly recommend a flu shots. For some clients, this may be a requirement for you to visit them and as such, preference for work will be provided to practitioners who have received a flu shot. Exemptions apply if you have medical reasons for not having a flu shot.

Changes to our infection control policy

Seated Massage reserves the right to change this policy at any time. We will notify you of significant changes to our Infection Control Policy by sending a notice to your primary email address. We recommend you periodically check the Site and this page for updates.

As the originator, this information is published expressly for our clients and therapists. Copyright Seated Massage Pty Ltd March 2020. Use without permission is strictly forbidden.

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Our Infection Control Policy was last updated on 22 May 2020