Attuned Psychology response to COVID-19

COVID-19: Keeping calm for the common good

March 24, 2020

Please be assured your access to psychologists and therapy has been deemed an “essential service” by the Federal government and that means we can continue providing therapy amid many COVID-19 restrictions.

We’ve crafted this page to help alleviate any extra anxiety or worry you might be experiencing with all the changes going on around us. There is more detail lower down this page but the two key points are:

1. Our face-to-face therapy sessions are continuing, safely.

We have always had safe hygiene practices at Attuned Psychology but earlier this month we also put stricter measures into place to keep you (and us) safe from COVID-19 infection, see below.

So please, continue to come in for your sessions. However, if you can answer YES to any of these questions, please call us to discuss and/or reschedule your appointment. Have you or anyone in your household:

  • Been placed under home quarantine for coronavirus?
  • Returned from overseas, interstate or a cruise ship, in the last 14 days?
  • Flu-like symptoms – fever, cough, sorethroat or shortness of breath?

2. We are also expanding our offering of online sessions, called Telehealth.

Telehealth is a good option for clients who would prefer to have their sessions remotely, during this time of social distancing. The government has expanded its range of options to make online sessions accessible. In the meantime, after some important recent changes we are pleased to report that there is universal access to Telehealth under Medicare if referred under a Mental Health care plan and for many people with private health cover,  Telehealth will also apply provided certain conditions are met

We have a special page on this topic which will be kept up-to-date with the latest information: Telehealth: Online Therapy Sessions

On that page, you’ll also see a video interview I did about the process of holding therapy sessions online. I am adapting to this new medium and the video will hopefully answer some of your questions while showing you what online conversations can be like.

Of course, please chat with us about your situation and concerns. Having a therapy session online might feel strange at first but research shows they can be as effective as face-to-face with the added benefit of giving you access while you are isolating.

PLEASE NOTE: THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WILL BE UPDATED AS SITUATIONS CHANGE.

Infection control guidelines

You might be aware that Attuned Psychology has had infection control protocols in place as part of our normal procedures, although most of this work took place “behind the scenes”.

During this period of extra alertness due to COVID-19, we have put extra measures into place to protect you and our team.

There are three main aspects to our practical infection control measures.

Social distancing. While our practice rooms have always been large enough to enable us to be at least 1.5m apart during our sessions, we have now rearranged our waiting rooms to ensure you can keep that recommended distance from other clients and office team. Furthermore, we have permanently postponed our team’s group lunches to maintain distancing at all times.

As a further measure, when possible, clients who arrive very early for appointments will be encouraged to go for a walk until it’s closer to their session time to minimise extended contact with others or if needed to sit in another consulting room while waiting if it is necessary.

Hygiene. A particular aspect of this virus is that is has a fatty outer layer which makes it very vulnerable to soap. This is good news because washing hands with conventional soap and water is a powerful way to halt this virus in its tracks. To this end, all staff are washing hands between sessions and all clients are being encouraged to do the same. This is a simple but effective measure to keep everybody safe.

Other related measures include cleansing of surfaces between sessions and daily, and heightened alertness to make sure everybody at our Glenelg and North Adelaide practices covers their mouth when coughing or sneezing by using disposable tissues or by holding their elbows up to their mouth and nose.

In reception, we are encouraging you to pay by card but if cash is used our team will be using gloves as part of their standard routine. Once again, these simple actions are vital in reducing the risk of spreading this virus.

Telehealth sessions. There has been some interest in clients wanting to keep their sessions but to hold it online using telehealth via video or telephone. This service is a great option for those choosing to isolate or recovering from being ill and we are pleased to offer that to anyone who is interested. If this is of interest to you, talk to our team to explore the options.

In most cases Telehealth clients will qualify for a rebate and these online sessions may be managed as normal,  therapy sessions with the only difference being that you and your therapist are not in the same physical place.

We were so relieved to hear the Government announce in late April that access to services would be extended across the whole population to ensure that people’s mental health care needs are looked after having been restricted in March and early April to certain parts of the community only.  We will keep you informed  with any further changes via this page: Telehealth: Online Therapy

Attuned Psychology maintaining therapy sessions in our response to COVID-19

There are many other procedural changes happening behind the scenes to keep Attuned Psychology operating safely so that you can still benefit from our services during this time of uncertainty.

As always, we are here to help and to accommodate your needs as we navigate challenges and work toward better mental health for all.

Alexandra Frost

Director/Clinical Psychologist

 


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