Coming out of lockdown and getting my mobile foot care business, Heel The Soles ready to resume footcare work in and around Felixstowe has certainly been a difficult task. Like many businesses, it wasn’t too difficult to shut down back in March. But coming out of lockdown has taken a lot of planning, time, effort, and money.
So here is a brief account of how I prepared to reopen my footcare business, Heel The Soles, in Felixstowe, Suffolk, after the 12-week Covid-19 lockdown.
Getting Ready To Return To Work
It is amazing how quickly the past 12 weeks of the lock down has gone by. I remember 12 weeks ago, just before our prime minister announced that everything was to be shut down and all non essential businesses were to close. I had already decided that it would be best to shut down Heel The Soles.
Foot care official bodies were advising against continuing to work and although Mobile foot care businesses weren’t specifically ordered to close by the government, I felt that the risk of infecting patients as I visited house to house was getting to be too great. So Heel The Soles came to a stop.
But that was back in March 2020. and now here we were in June and it felt like the time was right to reopen. So many patients whose toe nails hadn’t stopped growing for 12 weeks were in desperate need and although a few had tried to cut them themselves I knew that pretty soon many were going to start to develop serious conditions if they didn’t get a visit from me soon.
Return To Work Checklist
I sat down and made a return to work check list:
- Check all equipment was in good working order-recharge batteries etc.
- Order more supplies of creams, clippers, boards etc
- Study all advice from foot care bodies regarding safe procedures for visiting homes including what PPE equipment would be needed.
- Source and order PPE equipment; gloves, goggles, masks, hair nets, hand sanitizer, wipes, etc. (I couldn’t believe how much all this was costing. Especially as I had had no income for the last 3 months!)
- I then began ringing my patients after sorting through for the most urgent ones first then gradually contacting each patient that I would have been due to see over the past 3 months.
- Order more uniforms as I was going to need to wash them every day and so would need at least 5 a week.
Winnie Gets A MakeOver
- Clean Winnie the mini who had been sitting patiently on my drive for 12 weeks. She was looking pretty sorry for herself. But on the last weekend, I soon had her looking shiny and new again. Including fitting a dash cam that I had been given for my birthday, back in April, but never bothered to fit as the only thing it would have shown was a lovely video of my garage door!
- A dress rehearsal/practice run. I had ordered my partner, Keith, not to cut his toenails so that the week before returning to work I could practice on him. So last Thursday I dressed up in all my PPE equipment and cut his nails. He said it was like having his feet seen to by Darth Vader! But It was very useful having a dress rehearsal so that I could find out what it was going to be like working wearing all the PPE. And working out the correct procedure to put it on and take it off. The first thing I discovered was that wearing a visor was impractical as I couldn’t work properly with it on and it just kept steaming up so I couldn’t see the toes! This was a danger to the patient and myself so I sourced some protective goggles instead. These did the job much better. Providing full protection for me and I could see in them! Another good thing about the dress rehearsal was that my fear I might have forgotten what to do proved wrong. I guess just like riding a bike- once you learn how to be a foot care professional you never forget!
The First Day Back Arrived
So the Sunday night before returning I was ready.
I felt a bit nervous on Monday morning but once I arrived at my first patient and saw their welcoming smiles I felt at ease. It all went smoothly. They both had obviously needed treatment soon as their nails had grown so long and they were so grateful for the service returning.