Author: Admin

POSITION STATEMENT ON MASK EXEMPTIONS

We believe in providing the best care to our community. In light of the new universal masking recommendations, and multiple phone calls from concerned patients regarding universal masking, we have evaluated the current available evidence. To date, the current evidence for masking during COVID 19 outweighs any theoretical risks. As such, we fully advocate for universal masking, in addition to maintaining a 2 m physical distance at all times and diligent frequent handwashing (or the use of an alcohol based hand sanitizer).

Inappropriate medical exemptions have the potential to inadvertently hasten the spread of COVID19 in our community.

However, there are exceptional circumstances, which do warrant consideration of a mask exemption. These include:

  • people, especially children, with severe sensory processing disorders
  • patients with facial deformities that are incompatible with masking
  • children less than 2 years of age
  • children less than 5 years of age (cognitively or developmentally) who refuse to wear a face covering and cannot be persuaded to
  • people with PTSD who are triggered by a face covering
  • extreme agoraphobia/asphyxia phobia (which is longstanding predating COVID 19)
  • people with cognitive impairment, intellectual deficiency or autism spectrum disorder for who wearing a face covering will cause severe distress or disorganization
  • people unable to apply or remove a face covering without help

If you believe, based upon the above criteria, that you warrant an exemption, or if you want to discuss your concerns with your physician, please call the clinic for a virtual appointment. You will be booked with your own physician.

We strongly advise people who are exempt from wearing a face covering to avoid all indoor public spaces.

Please Note:

  • ASTHMA is NOT a contraindication to mask wearing
  • COPD (including chronic bronchitis and emphysema) is NOT a contraindication to mask wearing
  • Discomfort caused by the mask is not an exemption.
  • Acne caused by the mask is not an exemption.
  • Patients wearing oxygen can wear a mask over top of their nasal cannula. It does not impair their ability to continue to wear their oxygen, nor lower their oxygen levels.
Masks with exhalation valves should NOT be used because they allow infectious respiratory droplets to spread outside the mask and thus do not protect others from COVID-19 and do not limit the spread of the virus. As such, patients presenting to our clinic with masks with exhalation valves will not be permitted in without changing their mask to a face covering without exhalation valves.

Patients With Respiratory Illnesses Such as Asthma and COPD:

“There is NO evidence that wearing a face mask will exacerbate an underlying lung condition.” The Canadian Thoracic Society (the professional society that provides asthma and COPD guidelines for physicians and patients)

Individuals with chronic pulmonary illnesses such as asthma and COPD are at higher risk for severe disease from COVID-19. Having a chronic breathing problem is a compelling reason to wear a mask, rather than be exempt from wearing one. As such, we will not be providing exemptions to patients with chronic lung disease.

Face Masks and the Feelings of Anxiety or Difficulty Breathing with a Facemask:

Wearing a face mask may create feelings of anxiety and panic (including shortness of breath, which is a symptom of anxiety). If you cannot tolerate wearing a facemask due to these symptoms, it is advised that you:

  • try different mask formats and materials to find one you feel is more tolerable
  • try using the mask for short periods of time around home, slowly increasing the duration of wear at home until you can tolerate its use
  • see any counsellor for support, tips, advice, desensitization, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • if all else fails, avoid public indoor spaces and any circumstances in which physical distancing is not possible.

Thank you for your understanding, your patience and your compassion.

References:

  1. Canadian Thoracic Society recommendations regarding the use of face masks by the public during the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic June 2, 2020
  2. Lung Association: Non-Medical Face Masks and COVID-19 www.lung.ca/covid19
  3. Joint Statement on Importance of Patients with Chronic Lung Disease Wearing Facial Coverings During COVID 19 Pandemic (this is a joint statement by the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Lung Association, the American Thoracic Society and the COPD Foundation) July 17, 2020

After hours clinic – limited restart

NOTE: After hour clinic access is for existing patients only. Uptown Family Medicine does NOT provide public walk-in medical service.

After hour clinics will temporarily be restarted at Uptown Family Medicine only. These appointments will be limited to virtual appointments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see our after hours calendar to view times. You should always contact your primary physician to book these appointments.

If you are seeking non emergent medical attention, we also ask that you contact your primary physician. As outlined previously, we are managing most issues via virtual encounters.

Please refer to the gnb.ca website or our COVID-19 information page for the current status of the pandemic.

Virtual Encounters

COVID-19 is placing stress on Canada’s public health system. Our health service is starting to offer virtual care to make sure that we can continue to care for our patients safely and effectively. This means that we may be using audio technologies and/or video for some patient visits rather than asking all patients to come into our office. We do our best to make sure that any information you give to us during virtual care visits is private and secure, but no video or audio tools are ever completely secure. There is an increased security risk that your health information may be intercepted or disclosed to third parties when using video or audio communications tools.

To help us keep your information safe and secure, you can:

  • understand that video, emails, calls, or texts you may receive are not secure in the same way as a private appointment in an exam room; and
  • use a private computer/device (i.e., not an employer’s or third party’s computer/device), secure accounts and a secure internet connection. For example, using a personal and encrypted email account is more secure than an unencrypted email account, and your access to the Internet on your home network will generally be more secure than an open guest Wi-Fi connection.


If you are concerned about using video or audio tools for virtual care, other arrangements can be made. However, please note that visiting a health care provider in person comes with a higher risk of coming into contact with COVID-19 and the possibility of spreading the virus.

By providing your information, you agree to let us collect, use, or disclose your personal health information through video or audio communications (while following applicable privacy laws) in order to provide you with care. In particular, the following means of
electronic communication may be used (identify all that apply): telephone, email, videoconferencing (including Zoom, etc.), website/portal, other (specify).

COVID-19 Update

Due to the emerging situation surrounding COVID-19 we are making strategic changes to our practice in order to protect the patients, staff, and physicians at Uptown Family Medicine.

  • Limited volume: For the upcoming weeks, we will be limiting the number of in-person appointments to visits that require physical examination and are of an urgent nature.
  • Screening all: If you have an appointment already booked, we will be contacting you in the next few days to discuss if you require a phone call appointment or if it’s necessary for you to come into the office.
  • Call first: Please do not present at the office for any health issues unless you have a confirmed appointment, all other issues should be by phone call.

We appreciate your patience and support during these times.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

If you have recently traveled outside the country, and have concerns you may have signs/symptoms of COVID-19:

DO: Isolate yourself from others for 14 days

DO: Seek medical advice by calling 811 TeleCare or your health provider

Do NOT: expose yourself to others

Do NOT: present to a health care facility without calling first (to protect others and to ensure you are accessing the proper point of care for your needs

Why Call Your Family Doctor First?

We Know You!

Because we know our patients well and are familiar with their past and family medical histories, we often have much more insight into the likely causes of a symptom than a physician who meets you for the first time.

We Are Often Able To See You Quickly If You Have An Urgent Need!

Even if your own family doctor is not able to see you right away, one of our colleagues often can – with the benefit of access to your health record.

Your Health Information Is Stored And Available For You And Your Family Doctor In The Future.

Family doctors have the central role in ensuring that information from any of your interactions with the health care system is communicated to you and to other doctors who need to know.

We Organize Preventative Care

When we see you for something, we often talk about other things too. This includes keeping track of all the recommended preventative health screening, immunizations, cholesterol and diabetes testing.

Where to find us and what to bring on your visits

Please note: Uptown Family Medicine is NOT currently accepting new patients.

If you do not have a family doctor, you can register with Patient Connect NB and will be assigned to one on a first-come, first-serve basis.  “http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/health/Hospital-Services/content/Patient_Connect_NB.html

If you do not have a family doctor and require medical attention, please present to the nearest emergency department or walk-in clinic. “http://www.nbms.nb.ca/patient-information/after-hours-clinics-or-walk-in-clinics/

 

Location

We are located on the 2nd floor, above the Lawtons pharmacy in the regent mall.Map Image

Our address is:

1381 Regent Street, Suite 201

Fredericton, NB, E3C 1A2

You can enter the clinic by stairs or elevator, accessing them through the Lawtons store.

What to bring

On your first visit, please arrive 10-15 minutes early as we will have a form for you to complete.  If you wish to complete this before arriving you can download and print the form here New Patient Health Questionnaire. We will also have a letter that introduces our clinic policies to you and allows us to get to know your health needs better.

At each subsequent visit, ensure that you bring:

  1. Your up-to-date medicare card
  2. Please bring all medications (including over the counter medications) to every appointment.

We are looking forward to meeting you and hope to be your primary source of health care.

Sincerely,

Uptown Family Medicine

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Please be advised that Uptown Family Medicine is NOT accepting new patients.