Updated August 221 - In light of the COVID-19 restrictions easing in the UK the NHS Confederation have put together some guiding principles
As follows -----------
The remaining lockdown restrictions in England have been lifted and alongside that, legal requirements around wearing face masks and social distancing are being removed.
The coronavirus vaccination programme has been a phenomenal success and for those fully vaccinated has significantly reduced infection, ill-health and death.
However, not everyone has received two doses of the vaccine yet and for some, their immune systems still make them vulnerable to infection.
This is worrying as the more transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus continues to spread across the country, hospital admissions and illness in the community are going up, and experts predict we will see 100,000 confirmed cases of the disease a day over the summer.
We are clear that although the law has changed, now is not the time for the public to let down its guard.
We know that many members of the public will want to continue to make sensible and cautious choices on how they go about their lives and we stand in solidarity of them.
The NHS Confederation, alongside other organisations, is calling on the public to pledge to keep themselves and others safe by:
1. Wearing a face mask or covering, if not exempt, including where not wearing one could make someone feel unsafe.
2. Doing what they can to keep indoor spaces well ventilated and opting for meeting outdoors, where possible.
3. Cleaning their hands regularly, including before and after social contact with those outside their household.
4. Getting tested, supporting contact-tracing measures and self-isolating, when required.
5. Making sure they get both doses of the coronavirus vaccine when asked and that they encourage people they know to do the same.
After all, it is #NotTooMuchToMask.
Changes made in the office
- Throughout we will maintain safe distancing.
- I will be taking weekly lateral flow tests
- Air purifiers are in place to clean the air and good ventilation is maintained
- Restroom soap dispensers are maintained and everyone is encouraged to wash their hands.
- Hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol is available in the therapy room, the waiting room and at the reception counter.
- We schedule appointments at specific intervals to minimize and ideally avoid the use of the waiting room.
- We ask that you arrive no earlier than 5 minutes before your appointment time.
- I am happy for you/us to wear a face mask if this would make you comfortable and I can provide masks for the session.
- Credit card pads, pens and other areas that are commonly touched are thoroughly sanitised after each use. Contactless payment is preferred where possible.
- The room is sprayed with disinfectant between clients additional time is left between appointments for ventilation.
- Tissues and trash bins are easily accessed and disinfected after each session.
- I continue to provide online therapy reducing the number of people visiting the office.
- Common areas are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
If there is a resurgence of the pandemic or if other health concerns arise, however, I may require that we meet online (Zoom or Skype)or by phone. If you have concerns about meeting online, we will talk about it first and try to address any issues. You understand that, if I believe it is necessary, I may determine that we return to online sessions for everyone’s well-being.
If you decide at any time that you would feel safer staying with or returning to, online services, I will respect that decision, as long as it is feasible and clinically appropriate. Some insurance companies are not allowing face to face sessions to take place it is dependant on the company we can discuss each case individually.
Risks of Opting for In-Person Services
You understand that by coming to the office, you are assuming the risk of exposure to the coronavirus (or other public health risks). This risk may increase if you travel by public transportation.
Our Responsibility to Minimize Exposure
To obtain services in person, we agree to take certain precautions which will help keep everyone you, me, and our families, safer from exposure, sickness and possible death. If you do not adhere to these safeguards, it may result in our starting / returning to a telehealth arrangement. Initial each to indicate that you understand and agree to these actions:
- We will only keep your in-person appointment if you are symptom-free.
- You will not attend a session if you have a high temperature.
- You will wait in your car or outside until no earlier than 5 minutes before our appointment time.
- You will wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser when you enter the building.
- We will adhere to the safe distancing precautions we have set up in the waiting room and therapy room.
- We will keep a distance of 6 feet and there will be no physical contact (e.g. no shaking hands).
- We will try not to touch our face or eyes with our hands. Or immediately wash or sanitize our hands.
- We will take steps between appointments to minimize our exposure to COVID.
- If we are exposed to other people who are infected, we will inform each other.
- If a resident of your home on mine tests positive for the infection, we will inform each other.
I may change the above precautions if additional local, or government guidelines are published. If that happens, we will talk about any necessary changes.
If You or I Are Sick or have symptoms
You understand that I am committed to keeping you, me, and all of our families safe from the spread of this virus. If you show up for an appointment and I believe that you have a fever or other symptoms, or believe you have been exposed, I will have to require you to leave the office immediately. We can follow up with services by telehealth as appropriate.
If I test positive for the coronavirus, I will notify you so that you can take appropriate precautions.
Your Confidentiality in the Case of Infection
If you have tested positive for the coronavirus, I may be required to notify local health authorities that you have been in the office. If I have to report this, I will only provide the minimum information necessary for their data collection and will not go into any details about the reason(s) for our visits. In attending face to face sessions you are agreeing that I may do so without an additional signed release.
During practice hours:
- The distance between chairs has been extended.
- Therapy rooms are wiped down in-between clients.
- Please ask if you require a face mask.
- Please wear a face make in communal areas in the building.
- I am washing my hands between clients.
- I will be keeping social contacts to a minimum and social distancing.
- Your appointment may be cancelled with short notice if I become unwell or government guidance dictates.
- The practice is being disinfected at the end of each day.
- General face-to-face sessions will significantly reduce.
- Anyone who is self-isolating will be asked to suspend sessions or have online therapy.
Alternative options for therapy sessions:
- I am happy to offer online or telephone therapy sessions to anyone who requests it regardless of whether you have symptoms.
- Please contact me in advance if you wish to arrange an online session and I will send you a link to access this service. I use a secure GDPR-compliant online platform called Zoom (https://zoom.us/). I am also happy to use Skype.
- If you have not used Zoom before here is a guide Zoom Support - how to use,
What I will do if I or anyone in the setting where I practice is symptomatic:
- In these circumstances, I will contact you without delay via telephone or E-mail. If you have recently changed your e-mail or telephone number, please notify me of any changes.
- You will then be informed following the period of self-isolation when the practice re-opens.
What you should do if you are symptomatic:
- If you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, however mild, such as a new persistent cough or fever, you should not attend your upcoming appointment.
- Please contact me via E-mail, text or leave a voicemail on - 07922 916 977
In these circumstances, we can either suspend sessions until you are ready to resume or sessions can continue online.
- The above procedure will be reviewed on a regular basis and may change at short notice based on government guidelines. I will continue to keep you updated on any further actions regarding this matter.
- If you are experiencing anxiety related to the virus, this article is very helpful: How to manage stress and anxiety during a pandemic
- Protecting and improving your mental health and wellbeing /https://sarahdrees.co.uk/how-to-protect-and-improve-your-mental-health-and-wellbeing/
- For information on how to protect yourself from the Coronavirus, you should always follow the latest Government advice. For up to date guidance visit: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/
If you have any questions or concerns in relation to the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.