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Updated June 13, 2022
Current situation and guidance
- Except for long-term care and retirement homes, mandatory masking has ended.
- While masking requirements are expiring, organizations may implement their own policies. Some organizations, such as hospitals, have already enacted their own masking policies. RMTs in these settings should follow any advice provided by their employer.
- The Ministry of Health has also provided guidance on PPE for health care workers and health care entities.
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, risk assessments continue to be an essential part of providing safe and effective Massage Therapy care.
When conducting a risk assessment, RMTs should consider if:
- The client is waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test;
- The client is supposed to be self-isolating at the time of an appointment;
- The client is experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19 at the time of the appointment;
- The client is at a higher-risk of negative outcomes from COVID-19;
- Risks can be controlled through infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures and personal protective equipment (PPE); and/or
- Deferring in-person treatment might result in negative consequences for the client.
RMTs must also consider the level of transmission of COVID-19 in their community. This can include the number of cases and hospitalization data from Ontario’s Ministry of Health, and other reliable information from the Ontario COVID-19 Data Tool.
Guidance for RMTs
Except for long-term care and retirement homes, mandatory masking has ended. While masking requirements are expiring, organizations may implement their own policies. Some organizations, such as hospitals, have already enacted their own masking policies. RMTs in these settings should follow any advice provided by their employer. The Ministry of Health has also provided guidance on PPE for health care workers and health care entities.
CMTO expects that some clients will wish to remain masked, some will want their RMT to be masked, and some RMTs may request that a client wear a mask. RMTs should base the decision to use personal protective equipment on a risk assessment (as noted above). RMTs should also use a client-centred approach, mask if they wish, and mask at the client’s request. RMTs should communicate any masking preferences ahead of the appointment to allow clients to prepare accordingly.
Risk assessment, careful communication, tolerance, and professional judgement will continue to guide RMTs’ decisions on treatment and use of personal protective equipment.
RMTs should follow the requirements in CMTO’s Practice Standard- Infection Prevention and Control, Practice Standard- Safety and Risk Management, and Public Health Ontario’s IPAC guidance.
The Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Patient Screening Guidance Document continues to be available. RMTs cannot provide treatment to anyone with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 until those symptoms have subsided or to anyone who is supposed to be self-isolating at the time of their scheduled appointment. RMTs should use their professional judgement to determine whether to collect COVID-19 information as part of a client’s health history. RMTs can continue to use passive screening such as signage.
RMTs must monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms and not practise if they are feeling ill. If an RMT develops symptoms while at work, they must complete the Ministry of Health’s online Self-Assessment Tool and follow the instructions.
If you have any questions, please contact the Practice Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 416-489-2626/1-800-465-1933 extension 4124.
Information for Clients
If you are attending a Massage Therapy appointment, you can expect your Registered Massage Therapist (RMT/MT) to implement measures to keep you both safe. Your RMT will follow the guidance noted above, and any guidelines from the Ontario Ministry of Health. If you are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, your RMT may discuss options with you, such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) or scheduling treatment at the beginning or end of the day.
CMTO does not have the authority to order RMTs to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but CMTO does strongly encourage RMT vaccination. Clients also do not need to be vaccinated to attend health appointments. RMT employers may implement their own vaccination policies, and RMTs in some settings (e.g., long-term care) may be subject to certain vaccination requirements. The latest information on the province’s vaccination efforts can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccines for Ontario webpage.
Frequently Asked Questions
RMTs do not need to inform clients of potential exposure. However, RMTs should continuously monitor themselves for any symptoms and not attend work if they have symptoms. RMTs should refer to the Ministry of Health’s Management of Cases and Contacts in Ontario document for guidance on notifying contacts of exposure to a confirmed case.
Vaccination status is personal health information and RMTs can choose whether to disclose their vaccination status and may determine that it is important to do so in some instances (e.g., when working with immunocompromised clients).