Telehealth Consent and Tips Sheet
Consent to Engage in Telehealth Counselling
*By accepting a telehealth session, you are consenting to undertake this method of service delivery.
** See below for Fees, Attendance Information and Tips on how to optimise your telehealth experience.
To support the safety of the community, our clients and our clinicians during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are NOW offering Telehealth for your ongoing psychological counselling care. These include online video (zoom) or phone alternatives.
What is the process for having a Telehealth - phone or video session and what technology do I need?
Our psychologist will call you at or within 10 minutes of your scheduled session to your designated phone number for a phone session. Please be aware this call may be originating from an “unknown or blocked” number, as your psychologist may be working offsite.
We are currently using Zoom to host video sessions. You do not need an existing Zoom account but if you have one you can sign in with your existing details.
You will receive a direct link/invitation at the time of your appointment from your psychologist to the counselling session via SMS or via email. You can tell us your preference.
The link will look similar to this:
For Mobile Phone Video/Zoom sessions
You simply click on the link sent via text and open your session with your psychologist. Accept the “Call using Internet Audio” option when prompted on your screen. This method works effectively without video/audio setup and no download is necessary. You are now with your psychologist to commence the session.
For Laptop/Computer/Tablet sessions
This is like the Mobile Phone session process but once clicking the link, you may be asked to ‘run’ or download the Zoom application. You may also need to adjust your video and audio access (bottom left of the video screen) when you join the session. Having headphones may also be helpful.
What are Your Fees for Telehealth services?
i. Fees for Telehealth.
The government has announced from Monday 6th April 2020, Psychologist’s “can apply their usual billing practices to the Telehealth items”. Being a private practice with overheads costs, WPS are unsustainable at a bulk bill rate for all clients. A few changes:
Normal session fees will apply from Monday 13th April 2020 for 50 minute Psychology sessions. You will still receive your Medicare rebate.
2. The below exceptions apply and will be bulk billed:
• Under age 16
• Clients who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 (eg over age 70, chronic medical conditions, ATSI community, pregnant women, diagnosed with Covid 19 in isolation)
• Clients who hold a concession card
3. If you have changed financial circumstances and would be unable to attend counselling, please advise reception to discuss a financial hardship option we have available. We are here to help you and want to continue to offer our usual level of service for all our clients.
ii. Attendance, Cancellation and Non-Attendance Policy
Now, more than ever, our policy around changing your booked appointments applies.
We respectfully request you;
Please continue to attend your booked appointments (where possible), and please be patient with us, as we navigate the “new ways” we are required to provide service to you.
Access to WPS admin support, other than calling to speak with us, can also be via email or SMS. Our phone lines may now be occupied with counselling sessions. Please request a “Call Back” if you would like to speak with us and can’t get through on the phone.
If you need to reschedule your appointment, please give as much notice as you can, so we can make the time available to waiting clients. If this notice is within 24hrs and we are unable to fill the appointment time, a late cancelation fee of $88 may be incurred.
We need to be fair to clients waiting for appointments and to our psychologists who are working to provide services.
If you are not available/” miss” your booked appointment, a non-attendance fee of $88, will in many instances be charged.
Late cancelation/non-attendance fees are paid by some 3rd party providers e.g. NDIS, VOCAT, Open Place, TPS (x1 only) at the recommended rate but in most instances, it is clients who will be required to pay. E.g. TAC, Workcover do not allow non-attendance charges.
What might be some of the limitations of Telehealth?
A telehealth consultation may not be the same and may not feel as complete as a face-to-face service and this may affect the psychologist’s ability to respond to your expectations. The capacity for crisis intervention may be diminished. There could be some technical problems that affect the telehealth consultation.
To the best of our knowledge, Zoom uses systems that currently exceed recommended Australian standards to protect the privacy and security of the video consultations. However, the service cannot guarantee total protection against hacking or tapping into the video visit by outsiders including tracking your location. This risk is small, but it does exist.
Are there situations where it may not be appropriate to have a video or phone session?
Please talk with your psychologist at your first session about the experience of adapting therapy from face-to-face to phone or video sessions. It can be challenging for some clients to make this transition. Your psychologist can suggest alternate therapy supports and resources or plan your future sessions according to your individual therapy needs.
What Space do I need to Provide when engaging in a phone or video session?
We ask that you provide a private space in the home with a closed door. In this way, you can feel free to talk about whatever you like, without concerns that others may be listening.
If possible, headphones also help create a private environment for a video call.
Please ensure your phone or computer/tablet is on and fully charged/or charging during your session.
What happens if our online connection fails?
Video sessions are reliant on internet connection and sometimes the connection can fail unexpectedly. The first 5-10 minutes of your session may be dedicated to checking that the connection is appropriate to commence the session. If unsuccessful during this time, a phone session may be offered if appropriate.
Can I change my mind?
If the telehealth consultation does not achieve what you need, then you can choose what to do next.
You can change your mind and stop using telehealth consultations at any time, including in the middle of a video or phone session. This does not change your right to health care in the future if you change your mind.
Can I request that the session be conducted over the phone instead of video?
If you do not have the technology to conduct a video session or feel more comfortable talking over the phone, then a phone session may be more appropriate. When working with clients, it is our preference to use video if available. Our psychologists use more than just verbal communication to engage with clients. Subtle changes in mood and behaviour are often communicated in non-verbal ways to our psychologists (such as gestures, body language, posture) and it can be helpful to see the client during sessions. Your psychologist can help you decide what might be most suitable for you during the first phone session.
Are my consultations Secure and Private?
Consultations between psychologists and clients are STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL. All psychologists at our service adhere to the legal standards of the Code of Professional Conduct as set by the Australian Psychological Society. This means that communication is private and safe-guarded and your psychologist is not able to provide any information to other persons, unless you give them permission to do so. However, there are some exceptions to confidentiality which primarily relate to psychologists’ ethical obligations or “duty of care”.
Confidentiality may therefore be breached for the following reasons:
For the purpose of professional consultation to other practitioners legitimately concerned with you or your child’s care.
If we have good reason to believe that you or your child may be at risk of seriously harming him/herself or another person; or at risk of being harmed by someone else.
If you or your child are involved in a court case and your psychologist is required to give evidence.
Only use personal information provided by you for the purpose for which it was collected.
Psychologists keep records for a minimum of seven years since last client contact. In the case of records collected while the client was less than 18 years old, psychologists retain the records at least until the client attains the age of 25 years.
You have the right to access personal information WPS has about you at any time. Your psychologist is likely to keep a record of your consultations with him/her. These records are confidential and are stored in a secure locked cabinet and/or password protected computer file.
Standards of Care
As psychologists we are accountable for our professional conduct, and if you are unhappy about any aspect of our service, we would like to hear your concerns. If this does not resolve the matter to your satisfaction you are able to lodge a complaint with the Mind and Seek Principal Psychologist – Dr. Chaille Breuer or WPS Director - Dr. Angelo Pagano or make a formal complaint with the Psychologists Registration Board of Victoria (03) 9629 8722; all our psychologists are required to be registered. Alternately, you can make a complaint to the psychologists’ professional body: The Australian Psychological Society (03) 8662 3300 - if your psychologist is a member.
Please do not record video or audio sessions without your psychologist's consent. Making recordings may quickly and easily compromise you or your child's privacy. If you record with consent, this may not be published in any form.
Tips for telehealth counselling sessions - Individual or Child/Parenting
Telehealth sessions can feel less safe and engaging than face-to-face consultations.
To help optimise your telehealth experience, there are some actions you can take. These include:
Set up your computer/tablet/laptop/telephone in a location where you have privacy and feel secure.
Try to have your appointments in the same location each time - this will help move you into therapy mode faster. Choose a seat that is comfortable and have tissues nearby. Perhaps also a glass of water or a hot drink.
Visual quality / Internet connection to be considered
Choose your private space as close to your modem as possible to minimise internet connection disruption if you are accessing your device via a wireless connection.
If using your mobile for a Zoom session place it in a set location rather than hold it by hand to reduce movement of your image.
Sit with light towards your face rather than behind you, to improve your image quality.
In your home environment it is easier to be distracted. Limit distractions caused by food, other people, pets and external noise including music. Using earphones may be beneficial. Ideally close doors so others cannot interrupt you.
You may like to create sound eg music playing, outside your room/space to diminish your session content being audible to others outside the room. This may be relevant due to government recommendations requesting all family members “remain at home” and therefore creating private space may be more challenging for some clients.
Please do not undertake therapy whilst driving your car or in a public place.
Ensure you are ready a few minutes prior to your appointment so you don’t feel rushed.
Allow time for yourself to consider anything you wish to raise during your appointment.
Please raise anything that is concerning you during the appointment. This may be related to what is being discussed but may also be related to the technology, the audio or visual quality, any discomfort (physical or emotional) or anything else that is disturbing you.
For Child /Parent sessions specifically
Similar to face-to-face sessions continuing counselling sessions for children may include;
Parent and child (especially for children too young to be left unsupervised)
Adult time (parent only)
Our time (client/child only)
In sessions your WPS psychologist may utilise;
What materials might you need for your child’s session?
(if required your psychologist will advise you in advance of the session)
Paper and Drawing materials (i.e. pencil, markers, crayons, etc.)
Psychologist may request other materials