“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.”- Izaak Walton.
As a profession, we understand the importance and role we play in many avenues of health care. But sometimes those roles are challenged and perhaps a little less certain. In 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Northeast Chiropractic Council (NECC) held one of its biannual meetings; virtually, of course. While there was not the same social engagement as in-person meetings, the sense of unity during the global crisis within the profession remained strong. And as we discussed “business as usual” there emerged a common theme, a question which we couldn’t yet answer: How are we handling ourselves during this pandemic?
As an organization, we sought to answer this question and share it with our membership. Our goal was to understand how we were managing through these difficult times, how we were growing, and to share our stories. These discussions inspired some NECC members to collaborate in creating a survey study titled, “The Utilization and Effects of Chiropractic Care During The Covid-19 Pandemic: A Survey of Northeast Chiropractors,” which was published by the Journal of Contemporary Chiropractic. The NECC felt it was important to pursue this study to document the role of the chiropractic profession during a pandemic.
The anonymous online survey was distributed by Northeast-state chiropractic associations to their respective members. The survey explored three key areas: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Population Health (CDC-DPH) guideline adherence, the management and effects of patient care, and the financial and practice dynamics due to Covid-19.
Overwhelmingly, most chiropractors within the Northeast region reported following CDC-DPH guidelines during the pandemic. Additionally, many chiropractors reported that they prescribed home care to both acute and non-acute patients. Unsurprisingly, few chiropractic patients and chiropractors themselves were diagnosed with lab-confirmed COVID-19 following in-person treatment. Furthermore, respondents reported treating less than half of the number of patients they treated on average prior to the pandemic and less than half of respondents reported seeking financial aid.
In publishing this study, we wanted to provide evidence in support of our adherence to CDC-DPH guidelines as essential workers. Likewise, we believe that state associations can utilize this information in demonstrating the vital and safe role we played in supporting the well-being of our communities.
Thank you to the participants of the study and to the Northeast Chiropractic Council for inspiring this endeavor. If you would like to read the full manuscript, visit the Journal of Contemporary Chiropractic.
Dr. Santiago is 2nd vice president and chair of government relations for the Connecticut Chiropractic Association, and vice president and treasurer for the Northeast Chiropractic Council. She practices in Avon, Conn.