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Reflections On A Year In The Life

Where We Started

Did you know that the Alliston Chiropractic Wellness Centre, as a practice, celebrated sixty years last year? Did you know that Dr. Kent has been a Chiropractor for nearly 26 of those years! Never, in our history, as a practice have we had a year like 2020.

As we cross the threshold into the spring of 2021, we have spent a full year living a pandemic life. This last year has given us so much: we have witnessed moments of anxiety, times of peace, times of protest and found new ways to celebrate. People have taken on new projects and hobbies and we have noticed a significant change in the way we all work, school, and socialize.

As for our team, we pride ourselves on our reliance and our ability to pivot and adapt. Many of you have been along for the ride, while others have observed from a distance. We are proud to share with you just a little of what our year has looked like from the inside out.

zoom-photo-teamAs a team, we met, distanced, on the front lawn, we video chatted across WhatsApp, we texted, we Zoomed, and throughout all of that, health and safety were the number one priority.

In the middle of March 2020, as the news of COVID-19 became more widespread and stay-at-home orders began, we canceled all appointments for the remainder of that month. We needed time to figure things out, reorganize, prioritize and be our best selves to continue to safely serve our community.

By the beginning of April however, it became apparent that there was a need growing for people who needed to be seen for pain management, and to no one’s surprise, we began hearing from others who were too afraid to go to the hospital. We began seeing people, very judiciously, on an emergency and acute care need basis.

By June, we had evolved into seeing patients who could not wait any longer. Over the weeks that followed, once again, we treated pregnant people, newborn babies, patients with injuries from car accidents and we began seeing more and more people who were struggling with pain. People were determined to find alternative care that would alleviate their symptoms.

signageEarly in the summer, we created a grouping system whereby people lined up in the front beside the witty lawn placeholders.

We changed our cleaning protocols, methods, and strategies. We limited our numbers in the building at any one time and the number of people we could see in a day. Guidelines were slow to be released and through our hard work, it was realized that what we were doing was above and beyond what was required.

Many were happy with the extra steps we were taking, even if it took more time (remember the required pre-visit screening email?). We felt it was necessary to keep us safe, our families safe and to keep each one of you safe. We were creative in changing how we made this all work. We made a conscious decision to have fun with the new procedures.

As I look back, I’m very proud of the changes and blessed to be in this together with Melissa and Marlene. I could not have asked for a better team!

By August, we were looking for alternatives since we knew the tent could not stay up all winter. We talked about “Montréal garages”, military-style tents with heaters, an arrival call/text system and using room four as an exit office and so much more.

We set up chairs for boots to see how that would look and tried out various scenarios ourselves; we talked about hallway mats and just wearing snowy footwear throughout the building.


That leads us to the place of using room one as the exit room for a while, remember that? In through the front and out through room one, waiting for an “all clear” and then scooting out the front door? You all changed and moved with us as we figured this all out and for that, we are also grateful.

Change, though, was our constant. Kids headed back to school, Thanksgiving was not far off and that meant winter really would be our next big consideration. We (staff) had more lawn meetings, talked frequently but didn’t spend time together. We changed the way we interacted and found a more fitting style for our team.

Throughout the summer, we tried to bring people into the office in groups by lining up in the front with the witty lawn placeholders. We switched things up and began actively screening people outside (remember the tent?).

We wore masks, sanitized hands, keys, phones, and anything you carried; we also had secondary screening protocols and questions for those who had positive answers to generic screening in a season of allergies, asthma, and uncertainty.

As rules and restrictions changed and evolved, we did too and thus began the back door entry and then leaving via the front door.

plexiglassAs we creatively planned to bring our full team back into the building, we started using the front door again and exiting people through room 1 and out the front door.

We installed plexiglass and were very proactive in our actions and we are still so very proud of this. We developed our own safety-based strategies because they were not forthcoming from the government and we felt they were necessary to keep us safe, our families’ safe, and to keep each one of you safe.

Winter brought new challenges! Not only did we need to deal with boots and jackets, but we now saw some people really struggling mentally with this new way of life. This is when the idea was born to use the side and back exit options for some.

It kept the number of people down in the outer office and it was very appreciated by our patients with compromised immune systems, patients with mobility problems, families with newborns or young kids and people who just felt nervous or anxious.

Of course, it did not work for everyone – some people just really liked seeing Marlene and Melissa twice in the same visit. Understandable, for sure.

We had some hiccups along the way that some of you may have noticed. There have been just a few (but not very many!) occasions where there was a longer than anticipated wait or more people around than usual.

Usually, if something like this happens, it is either because of that darn train or because a patient came in with something that we had not anticipated, and thus had not allotted enough time for.

We have seen, and this is huge, a bigger and broader sense of patience and compassion by everyone. People are so understanding and so compassionate. We have seen people do the shuffle and dance to allow each other in and out. We have seen people voluntarily wait outside or call before coming in. We have all seen acts of kindness, generosity and fortitude.

Thank you so much also, to those of you who call or email to tell us you are running ahead/behind schedule, as that is so appreciated by us! Observations from the front desk staff are that hiccups are generally learning-based activities and illustrate how we must adapt and evolve to create a seamless, safe, calm and pleasant visit to our office.

As you know, we just couldn’t do what we do without all of you being so flexible (chiro humour), understanding and patient. We are so grateful, thank you.

Where We Are Now

We made a conscious decision to have fun and to keep things light amidst so much unknown. We have had a couple of themed weeks, and our Food Drives took on a different vibe and were very successful thanks to the generosity of our wonderful community. We have given away a lot of cupcakes and, really, who doesn’t love a beautifully decorated cupcake?

star-wars-themeWe have had a couple of themed weeks.
muralSpencer Cowl from @SmokingCrowDesigns Created Another Positive Change

We were so fortunate to have a mild winter and the boots, jackets and snow issues are now, hopefully, a thing of the past. As we move into spring and a new season of life, there will likely be more changes as we adapt to life during the next phase of this pandemic.

While there seems to be constant change all around us, we will remain steady in our protocols and procedures to give everyone the care that they need.

Your health and care is our number one priority, always.

6 Join the Conversation

  1. Linda says
    Apr 26, 2021 at 6:25 PM

    Good article. You've made amazing workable changes to meet all situations. Still no results from xray of back. Each day at a time with a lot of sunshine makes a day

    • says
      Apr 26, 2021 at 3:04 PM

      Thank you for the note; it really has been an incredible journey. We all wish you sunshiney days ahead and look forward to seeing you soon again.

  2. Jennie Dixon says
    Apr 26, 2021 at 6:58 PM

    Thank you to an amazing team!!! I feel very comfortable and safe coming into the clinic for my treatments. You have helped me so much to regain and strengthen my mobility. I am so happy that you have been able to remain open during this recent stay at home order. I appreciate your thoroughness in following all health and safety protocols!

    • says
      Apr 26, 2021 at 3:07 PM

      Thank you for the feedback, Jennie. We have worked very hard to make this a safe space for everyone from newborns to seniors!

  3. Jill says
    Apr 27, 2021 at 3:52 AM

    If your walls could only talk!! The number of patients seen and the patience displayed is heart-warming. Always a pleasant place to be and a comforting (chiro humour!) one too. Thanks to the team for the care and concern you have for us all. I appreciate the cleaning efforts made constantly through the day and the perpetually cheery faces that greet me. And thanks also for the straighter back, relieved lower spine and un-pinched neck as I leave through whichever door I'm pointed towards. Thank you. Good health to all.

    • says
      Apr 27, 2021 at 9:46 AM

      Oh, if the walls could talk!! You are right on! We have a pretty exceptional team and we are all very aware of how fortunate we are. Thank you for the wonderful feedback. It is always a pleasure to see you and you brighten our days, too.

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