COVID 19 - Update #2
23rd March 2020
Thanks to Kylie for your contributions and to Fiona and Alyce.
Please find an update about the ever unfolding Covid-19 situation. Of course this may change soon.
The primary aim of the following measures is to:
1. Protect clients and clinicians at WPS from exposure to COVID-19 infection &
2. Ensure continuation of psychological treatment over the coming months.
WPS Staff Member being tested for Covid-19
On Saturday 21st Mar late afternoon, Maddy informed Fiona and I that she had been tested for Covid-19 on Saturday after being advised by the department that a friend she was with on Friday 13th March had tested positive to the corona virus. Maddy worked at reception on Monday and Friday last week. Maddy indicated she has no symptoms as of Sunday evening.
From my reading of the DHHS website, people are in the main said to be infectious in the 24hrs before they become symptomatic.
I also contacted the Covid- 19 hotline and they reassured me that there was no need for staff who were in contact with Maddy last week to isolate unless they were feeling unwell.
No doubt the landscape for our services and the community will continue to evolve quite rapidly.
If you need or want to call me, or text with any questions or comments to group about above feel free.
1. Telehealth vs. Face to Face: Limit face to face consultations wherever possible. It is your choice currently.
Issues to consider when making Telehealth decision will of course depend on factors including; government guidelines, yours and client’s health, clinical appropriateness, clinician preference and beliefs, client issues, funding for telehealth, client access (some prefer video eg. zoom, Skype) and others phone; the location you are accessing telehealth is effective and safe, mitigation of any potential risk to client.
Notes on Zoom: Clients don’t have to have zoom installed, need to ‘run’ zoom, they get an invite code via email. We can template this email. Client has option to turn off camera. Psych has option to ensure they are in the meeting first. Can use from PC, MAC, Phone etc. Host (only) can record session or export ‘chat’. Zoom is an option for group sessions – breakout rooms available
Note Funded Telehealth Programs
WorkCover – New clients need claims agent approval
Medicare: Covid-19 Items only at this stage.
2. WPS waive fees for cancellations in circumstances where clients are vulnerable (eg. client unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, cold), being assessed for COVID-19; requiring self-isolation, close contact with a confirmed case, etc.)
3. Meetings held in group room, outside where/when possible or via Video (e.g. Skype/Zoom).
4. Fee based Telehealth Sessions with Medicare Referral:
Telehealth sessions are fee-for-service and do not attract any Medicare rebate at this stage (Option is to see face to face)
Fees for a 25 minute session are $75.
Fees for a 50 minute session are $150.
**To assist reception and your clients, please indicate your preference for current delivery of services (reply required asap please)
1. Continue with face to face contact (SMS reminder to go out as per usual)
2. Continue with face to face contact and offer Telehealth (video) or phone as an option should a client request it or cancel (SMS reminder to go out as per usual)
3. Request that your clients conduct non-contact (video or phone) consultations (adjusted SMS.. to include non-contact option)
4. Request that your clients conduct non-contact consultations for the most part, providing names of those clients you wish to see face to face (adjusted SMS.. to include non-contact option)
You will notice some changes on your diary. Reception have started to offer non-contact consultations this week for some Psychologists. We will write a casual appt under the clients name and record their preferred method. i.e)
(client initial, face to face)
WPS have uploaded current advice onto our website for clients and will forward this information out via a second (and final) bulk email. We will indicate that we won’t be emailing again and for all information to visit our website. (or call reception)
Please try as best you can to do following when at WPS.
5. Do not under any circumstances come to work unwell.
6. Please wash your hands with soap and dry thoroughly or use hand sanitiser every hour preferred.
7. Do not share kitchen utensils, cups etc. with clients, please use one cup or glass (can bring from home if you wish)
8. Please open doors for clients.
9. Make appointments for clients yourselves to reduce traffic at reception desk.
10. Please be on time and greet clients at the door. We will ask them to wait in car or attend on time.
A good summary of ideas about generally remaining mentally and physically healthy during the pandemic can be found at :
2. A comprehensive list of Mental Health Resources to support the mental wellbeing of Australians through the coronavirus pandemic.