(Initial release 29/03/2020, last updated: 18/04/2020, 12:30pm AEST).
Dear Valued Client,
All sessions are now being temporarily moved to online/Telehealth
due to COVID-19
It is with sadness, though out of absolute necessity, that we have decided to close our Psychology Clinic for in-person consultations due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation to keep the health and safety of everyone. I have been monitoring this situation in Australia daily for the past several weeks and this week we now saw the inevitable time come to make the decision to close our doors temporarily until this virus situation passes. This is as the situation has now become too high risk for myself, my staff and my clients to keep attending for their appointments face-to-face due to the rate of spread. Once the virus situation has been contained, then we can re-open our doors.
However, this does not mean that your psychology treatment has to stop. All psychology services will now be moving over to telephone/online sessions being delivered via either:
- Telephone call
- Video Conferencing – through a software called Coviu (more details below)
Coviu is similar to Skype and Zoom, though more professional. Think of it as an online ‘virtual clinic’ that has virtual waiting rooms and consultation rooms’. It’s been recommended by our Australian Psychological Society (APS) that we use this instead of Skype or Zoom as it is much more secure and complies with governing regulation standards. I’ve tested it out myself and it is extremely easy to use.
Instructions for using Coviu:
To start your scheduled session with me, all you need to do is click the link in your appointment SMS reminder, and it will take you to the coviu.com in your phone/tablet/desktop web browser, where you enter your First and Last name, and join as a ‘guest’. From here you wait in the virtual waiting room, until I accept you into the appointment and then we begin the video consultation. Then when we’re finished the session, you just hang up and go about the rest of your day. Simple as that!
The link to Coviu is: https://vitalityunleashedpsychology.coviu.com/room/@ashleygilmour
See photos of the process of joining Coviu as a guest below:
Sessions via Telehealth will still operate as per the usual way they operate when doing them face to face. I am still able to provide all the same assessment, diagnosis, prevention and treatment expertise as a Clinical Psychologist that we would normally do in person together. Much research supports online therapy being equally effective as face to face, and I have also found this to be the case with many clients I have provided online psychology to in recent years.
Realistically speaking, I do anticipate that our clinic, along with many other service providers/businesses will experience such changes for at least the next 3 months and possibly longer, however this really depends on how well that we as Australians comply with social distancing rules, staying at home as much as possible, and how soon medical treatments and preventions become available. The longer we avoid compliance to the necessary measures we need to take to get this virus spread under control, the longer we will see disruptions to services. Thus, unfortunately there is no clear answer for you right now as to how long our clinic for in-person services will need to remain closed for.
I know that some clients have no issue about continuing with their psychology treatment face to face, I do know that some people will feel really uncomfortable about this idea as Telehealth can be quite foreign or awkward for them. If this is the case for you, I do highly encourage you that you contact me to have a chat about your concerns about Telehealth to see if we can help you to make Telehealth easier or more comfortable for you as it is going to be now more than ever with the stress of everything going on, that it is imperative that we continue with your psychology treatment to help you to look after your mental health, as unfortunately we are already seeing an expected rise in mental health issues from the impact of this coronavirus situation.
All consultation payments will be processed via our secure encrypted online client system with your debit/credit card that we have stored on file that you have provided to us previously. If you need to update your card details, please advise us. Our online system will also process your Medicare rebate as per usual at the time of payment of consultation. Please note that consultations are to be paid in full at the time of consultation.
Please also note that our clinic is still operating as per normal with the exception of appointments now being delivered online. Thus we are still accessible via telephone, email etc as per usual. However, if there is a slightly longer delay than normal in getting back to you, we have not forgotten about you, we are just in the middle of working through these initial changes for our clinic.
In the meantime, please do recognise that this COVID-19 situation is very serious and that it is highly encouraged that you follow all safety advice that has been provided to you by our Department of Health including:
- Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds regularly
- Do not touch your face, eyes, mouth or ears unless you know your hands have been properly washed
- Keep your distance from people at least 1.5m-2m apart. If someone is coming too close to you, either move yourself away from them or ask them not to come close to you.
- Always sneeze or cough into a clean tissue and immediately throw it in the bin, or into a flexed elbow
- Keep clear of people who you know are infected or suspect could be infected
- Self-isolate as much as possible, especially if you are in the higher risk category such as being immune-compromised, pregnant or elderly
It is really important to be aware of how long the virus can survive for on surfaces without a host. Some sources have reported the following:
- Airborne particles up to 3 hours
- Cardboard up to 24 hours
- Plastic and steel up to 72 hours
Other safety precautions I recommend to further reduce your risk of infection include:
- Set up a soap pump bottle out the front of your house next to water tap so that all people must thoroughly wash their hands before touching anything to enter into the house
- Leave all shoes worn outside of the house, outside away from the front door and not wear them inside
- Find a way where anything you bring home from outside of the house is properly wiped down before coming into the house, including rinsing off packet foods, and fresh fruit & vegetables before packing away
- Depending on where you have been, if you feel you have been in a risky environment (e.g., supermarket), consider removing your clothes and have a shower and put your dirty clothes straight into the wash pile and do not wear clothes you have worn outside of the house twice
- If you live with other people, make sure that you are all on the same page about the house’s level of safety standards and that every person complies with them
- When you do leave the house, such as to get some exercise, do try to pick spots or times of day that have less people around
Some important links about COVID-19:
I truly appreciate that this is and going to be a highly stressful, anxious and challenging time for many as this affects everyone worldwide. Please do no hesitate in reaching out to me via email to say hello, or just to give me a brief on how you’re coping or what you might be struggling with. We’re all in this together and I care about all of my clients wellbeing greatly.
Please do look after yourself and your loved ones, and please do remember that if we all do our bit to help stop the spread, we WILL get through this, we WILL get to the other side where we are free to leave our homes and go about our daily activities like normal again. In the mean time, we just need to hang in there and support one another.
If you’re looking for some happiness and inspiration during these times, I found this great Facebook page called “The Kindness Pandemic” that has recently been set up. It’s well worth checking out to fill your heart back up as there are many stories daily of the kindness people are providing towards others.
We have also written a blog “10 Ways to Reduce Coronavirus Anxiety“. Do check it out for some valuable tips on dealing with the anxiety around this situation.
To contact me, please call our line 07 5574 3888 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org or for admin related matters, email admin at email@example.com