Handling Sickness in the Workplace

Written By Laura Allen, President of Sales & Marketing, AHC Ventures, Inc on March 4, 2020

Every year or two, there seems to be a new strain of flu, a new virus, some other new health issue, or a revival of an old one like last year's measles outbreak, that we all worry about. The coronavirus is the current concern, but it is just one of a long line of sicknesses that have gone around the world. Many of our customers are doctors, and they and their staff come in contact with sick people on a daily basis. Treating sick people is what doctors do, and one assumes that the assistants, nursing staff, administrative workers, and the janitorial staff in medical facilities have been thoroughly trained in universal precautions and sanitation procedures. 

But what about the massage therapist working in a business where they're provided with insufficient time to do a thorough intake, or one who is working for a company that has the attitude that everyone who comes in the door is going to get a massage, whether they should have it or not? Or the chiropractor whose patient shows up with the flu? Obviously, an appointment for a massage or a chiropractic adjustment is not a medical emergency. On the other side of that is the practitioner who shows up for work when they're the one who's sick...that could be a medical emergency in itself. Maybe you're worried about paying your bills, or meeting your weekly payroll, if you're an employer. Where do you draw the line? 

The correct answer is that if there is any possibility that you have an illness you could spread to other people, you don't provide care until you're over it. If your patient or client shows up with an illness that could spread to other people, you don't provide them with care until they're over it. It is not only dangerous; it's also an ethical violation of our mandate to first do no harm, to risk the health of others in the interest of making money or not disappointing someone who really wants their massage or adjustment. Reschedule your appointments. If you're an employer who doesn't want your staff members to call in when they're sick, there's more wrong with you than there is with them. You could be the cause of a real emergency if you insist they come in to work and end up spreading illness throughout the rest of the staff and your clientele. 

Most practitioners have clients who are at risk, such as people who have compromised immune systems for one health reason or another. We owe it to all those to whom we provide care to do it in the safest manner, and that includes not providing service or treatment when it is not in their best interest to receive it, whether it's because of their current health condition or our own. 

Posted In: Business Self-Care Practice Management