Covid-19 safety in psychology sessions: Jan 2021

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Hello and welcome to 2021!

It wasn’t quite the Chrissy we had hoped for, with many of us having families split up and members in self-isolation due to various local covid clusters.

Therefore, given the recent Covid community transmissions, here are the basics (sorry, but they’re long) of what you need to know to keep Covid-safe while continuing to access psychological therapy.

  • Face- to-face sessions continue as usual. You are not required to wear a mask during therapy, but you are welcome to.

From Jan 3rd 2021 face masks are mandatory in certain indoor settings in Greater Western Sydney, this only applies to psychological services if they are within a shopping centre, provided in an aged care facility or in an emergency department of a hospital or with a client who is a suspected, probable or confirmed COVID case. Therefore, mask-wearing is not a requirement in my room, you are always welcome to wear one if you feel you would like to.  If you would like me to wear a mask in our session, please advise. Source: APS Covid information advice.

  • A Service NSW QR code is available to check in, but is not mandatory.

I have chosen to register the practice as Covid-safe and as such, also have a QR code available to assist facilitate contact tracing should it be needed.  I keep records for contact tracing purposes and your details (name, phone number and date/time of your attendance) will be shared with NSW Health authorities should they be required.  I will ask you to sign an updated informed consent document at your next appointment that will include this.  I will not (of course) share any other information about you or your reasons for seeing me. Source: APS Covid information advice.

  • Reminder email sent with full information in addition to reminder text sent at 8am the day prior to your appointment.

This email will contain a summary of relevant current health advice and a link to the Covid case location list.  It is a client’s responsibility to check this list and contact me at that time if they have attended a listed location, in order to avoid cancellation fees. We can easily move the session online to telehealth if you have been in a case location and are in mandated isolation.

  • Screening questions at start of each session.

You will be asked to confirm you are free of Covid symptoms at the start of every session. You will also be asked to declare that you have not been to Covid case locations on the current NSW listing (a link to which was also emailed the day prior). If you have Covid-like symptoms or have attended the case locations you will be asked to seek testing and reschedule your appointment. Cancellation fees may apply.

  • I also screen myself!

I keep a close eye on case locations and my own health symptoms. In the case I am required to be tested and/or go into isolation I will contact you ASAP and offer you a telehealth session or alternative time.

  • Sessions will be more strictly 50 minutes to allow for cleaning between clients.

This has previously been the case but I will be more cognisant of the timing of sessions this year. I have a clock placed within view so that you can keep a sense of the time. Parents are required to return no later than the 45-minute mark of their child’s appointment so as to complete payment and other administration.  Young people will be asked to wait outside for parents if they have not returned by the conclusion of the session.

  • New armchairs have been ordered, arriving next week.

I have ordered new armchairs with wooden arms so that they can be sanitised more effectively than the fabric ones (and we don’t choke on the Glen20 fumes!) to reduce potential surface transmission. They are due to be delivered on Jan 11.

  • Other Covid-safe contingencies for your safety:
    • Please bring your own water bottle, I cannot offer you water at present due to bio-waste hazards.
    • Santitise your hands-on entry and exit and prior to touching the HICAPS machine. There is sanitiser out in the waiting area, inside the door and next to your seat.
    • Please bring your own pen with you if you wish to take notes, again this reduces surface transmission potential.
    • I will open and close the door for you (and sanitise common area touch points).

>> IF YOU HAVE COVID SYMPTOMS, ARE WAITING FOR TEST RESULTS OR IN SELF-ISOLATION – this does not have to interfere with you continuing to access the psychological support you need, we can easily move your session to a telehealth (video or phone) session. You can read FAQS on Telehealth services here.

>> COMMUNICATION IS KEY! Please text me to advise of any Covid contact risks ASAP and do not attend the premises if you are unwell. My usual cancellation policy will apply (which always takes into account unusual circumstances) – you can remind yourself of these conditions here.

You can find a copy of my Covid Safety Plan here.

OTHER QUESTIONS?  Please text or email me and I will get back to you ASAP.

Thanks for reading this far and I look forward to supporting you in 2021.

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