It is clear that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a significant impact on our community.
It is an important time for us to be responsible but also take care of each other.
We are having to adapt our psychology practice to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus (to our clients and staff).
We wanted to provide as clear guidance as possible about what we are doing (acknowledging that as the situation changes in the coming weeks this is likely to be updated).
How has Causley Psychology made efforts to make their counselling rooms safer?
Head office has been modified to create greater space between Paul and the client(s).
The stair rail, door handles, chair arm rests, reception counter are being cleaned regularly.
Paul (sadly) will not be shaking hands with clients.
At head office we have purchased water bottles for clients and will no longer offer tea/coffee (to minimise the handling of glasses etc).
Hand sanitiser is being provided (though we encourage people to bring their own and wash hands before and after entering the building).
The safety measures of the rooms at Central Maitland Medical and Tenambit Medical Centre are being looked after by their team. However, if you wish to avoid sitting in the waiting area at these locations please contact Robyn on 0406 362 449 the day before your appointment and we can make arrangements for you to stay in your vehicle until we are ready for you.
When should clients avoid coming into the office for counselling sessions?
As an ongoing rule we encourage clients who are sick to stay away from the office.
This is particularly important if you have symptoms associated with COVID-19 (specifically – cough, fever, sore throat, fatigue or shortness of breath).
Clients who cancel at short notice (less than 24 hours) are not given a cancellation fee if they are not attending due to illness.
If I cannot attend the practice due to self-isolation or illness what options are there for counselling support other than face to face appointments?
In all cases a brief phone follow up (at minimum) can be made available.
The provision of “telehealth consultation” (phone or video based sessions*) are available in many circumstances:
All NDIS clients can have phone/video consultations (ongoing).
All Worker’s Compensation clients can have video consultations (ongoing).
EAP clients can generally have phone/video consultations (ongoing).
DVA and Medicare (Mental Health Plan) clients will allowed phone/video consultations in a number of circumstances. At present this includes people who have been directly exposed to COVID-19, has been overseas in the last 14 days, is over 70 (or 50 if Indigenous), has a “chronic health condition” or is immune compromised, is pregnant or there is a baby in the household, or is required to self-isolate. Please ring Robyn to discuss if you are unsure.
Garrison Health (BUPA) clients – this is being clarified at present.
Open Arms clients – A permission form needs to be signed to allow video consultations (it is unclear in what circumstances phone consultations are allowed).
* At present Causley Psychology are only set up for Skype video consultations so we would ask that clients download this app in case it is needed.
Does Causley Psychology want well clients to delay/avoid appointments?
In most circumstances “No”.
We feel that in this time of uncertainty it is important that regular appointments are maintained (and face to face counselling is the most effective form of psychological treatment).
If you are well (and you and the people in your household are not in a high risk group) and we are happy to see you at the offices.
However, if you are unsure about attending please contact Robyn and discuss the phone/video consultation options.
I have a face to face appointment with Paul today. What can I do to minimise risk for myself and Causley Psychology staff?
Firstly, please give us a call if you are feeling unwell (before you enter the office).
This is particularly important if you have a cough, fever, sore throat, fatigue or shortness of breath.
Also call if you have recently travelled overseas or think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
We recommend that you bring some hand sanitiser and use it before you come into the office and immediately after.
Please bring your own pen in case you need to fill out forms and some water(or your favourite coffee) but please don’t bring Paul one.
Please respect the 1.5 metres social distancing rule with our staff and other clients (which includes avoiding physical contact including shaking hands).
Is there advice for people who are anxious about COVID 19 or struggling with the social isolation?
Yes. The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has released two information sheets “Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety” and “Maintaining your mental health during social isolation” which are attached to this document.
They can also be found at: https://www.psychology.org.au/COVID-19-Australians