Naturopaths across the East Kootenay region want to assure patients that they are still available for appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the Townsman reported earlier this week, family physicians in the East Kootenay region are available for video and telephone appointments. The same goes for naturopathic doctors as well.
Trent Brereton, an ND in Cranbrook says that it’s important for folks to know that naturopathic clinics are still fully operating, with some modifications.
“We are taking appointments [via] phone, telemedicine,” said Brereton. “Only those requiring essential care, urgent or emergent care, will be able to book an appointment in-person.”
He adds that most other naturopaths in the region are offering telephone and video appointments, so be sure to check with your regular naturopathic doctor if you are in need of care at this time.
Brereton says that Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer has deemed naturopathic medicine an essential service. Even those who have never been to a naturopath before are able to seek care from ND’s during the pandemic as well.
The College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia (CNPBC), which is the regulatory body for naturopathic doctors, says that it isn’t necessary for a patient’s first visit to be in person.
“The telemedicine standard does not prohibit a naturopathic doctor seeing a patient for the first time via telemedicine,” reads the CNPBC website. “It is generally recommended that naturopathic doctors should not see patients for in-person visits at this time.”
Brereton says that anyone with any upper respiratory symptoms won’t be able to be treated in-office in order to comply with guidelines set out by the federal and provincial governments. Only those with who are in need of urgent or emergent care will be seen in-person.
When asked if there are payment options available to those who may need treatment but cannot afford it at this time, Brereton says it will be determined on a case-by-case basis. He adds that anyone with extended insurance coverage will follow normal procedures for payment and coverage.
In terms of clinic hours, Brereton’s clinic at the Kootenay Health Centre will continue operating during their usual hours which are Monday to Friday, 9a.m. to 4:30p.m.. Morning appointments are preferred, however they are available during regular hours.
In Kimberley, ND’s are available as well via telephone and video. This includes, but isn’t limited to the offices of Roots to Health, Wild Heart Therapies and Pharmacy, Katelyn Mudry, and Darcie Pawlick.
Brereton also had some advice for both his patients and the general public, which is to get outside.
“[With regards to COVID-19] we can only advise patients based on the BCCDC and Health Canada guidelines, but generally speaking it’s a good idea to get exercise, follow a daily routine, and get moving outside,” Brereton explained. “There are lots of studies on environmental medicine that have shown the vast benefits of exercising and being in nature.”
He pointed to a study done in Toronto, where researchers were looking at the link between nature and cardiovascular risk.
“They looked at two city blocks, which were virtually the same, in the same neighbourhood and the only difference was that one block had 11 more trees than the other,” said Brereton. “There was a statistically significant difference for cardiovascular risk to those who lived on the block without the 11 trees.”
He went on to say that studies have also shown students perform better in classrooms that have a view of grass, as opposed to buildings.
“Students that looked out to a view with trees also did better than those with the view of grass,” Brereton said. “In terms of COVID-19, it’s generally a good idea to get outside.”
Although the province has closed off access to all provincial parks, trails within Cranbrook and Kimberley city limits remain open as of press time of this article (April 10). Updates are posted regularly on the City of Cranbrook and City of Kimberley websites, as well as the Rails to Trails, Cranbrook Community Forest and Kimberley Nature Park Facebook pages. The City of Cranbrook says that residents must be diligent with social and physical distancing on trails within City limits to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.