Thoughts and challenges for clinicians treating persons with head and face problems
As we all face new and unforeseeable challenges due to the current COVID-19 or “Corona- Virus” pandemic, more and more clinical thoughts and implementations turn up. Next to possibilities and applications of new and modern technologies in rehabilitation, like telemedicine, telerehabilitation or the use of virtual reality, the patients ́ and the therapists ́ safety have to be considered, especially when a stepwise return to face-to-face therapy occurs (Eccleston et al., 2020; Haines & Berney, 2020).
Another point that has to be considered is the way we cover our faces by (surgical) masks, which cover our mouth and nose so only the eyes and forehead are free. Whereas the daily and common use of this masks is very established in Asian countries (Yang, 2020) the everyday viewing is still very unusual in middle-European countries, US and Canada. The World Health Organization (WHO) is constantly adapting its recommendation of when and how to use different kinds of masks during the ongoing pandemic (WHO, 2020). Different guidelines in several countries recommend using face mask protection for the patients and the therapists during face-to-face work with but this normally applies to the acute care setting and patients (Physio Austria, 2020).
We may ask ourselves what's happening with our nonverbal communication skills considering that most of our emotions and feelings are expressed by the face. In this blog we discuss some thoughts and ideas about how to deal with this situation in the clinic in the future.