June 17, 2020

 

Dear valued client,

 

As the government moves to re-open Nova Scotia, we have been working hard to ensure that we are able to follow the public health guidelines that have been accepted for our respective professions in order to keep you and our team safe and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

 

Thank-you for your patience over these long 3 months. We know that the last months of isolation may have been exceptionally difficult for many of you, and that it has added new challenges in your path to psychological wellness and health. We are in awe with how so many of you have found ways to cope in such difficult times, and with the creativity and flexibility you have shown in finding ways to continue your psychological treatment whenever possible. The majority of you have embraced the transition to virtual therapy over the last 3 months, and from all reports, most seem to be deriving as much benefit as with in-person sessions. We are excited to announce that we have also successfully transitioned to providing our group skills and therapy sessions virtually.

 

As per the guidance of the Department of Health and Wellness and our professional associations, we will be proceeding cautiously to ensure we minimize risk of infection. We are being instructed to continue to provide individual virtual therapy for our clients unless it is absolutely necessary to engage in in-person sessions. We will continue to provide all group skills sessions virtually for the near future.

 

As of July 1st, in some instances, where virtual work is not possible or in cases of high need, we will offer clients in-person sessions. Please note that the provision of in-person sessions will be at your therapist’s discretion and according to their comfort, health status and ability, and that for new clients, the need for in-person care will be assessed after an initial telehealth session.

 

Where in-person sessions are necessary, the following precautions will be followed for your safety and the safety of others:

 

  • Staff will be following strict disinfecting protocols between client sessions.

  • Staff will be following strict hand-washing protocols between client sessions and before and after disinfecting the space.

  • Staff will cancel appointments if they have any symptoms on the COVID screener, as outlined by current public health guidelines in the province.

  • Surgical grade masks will be worn by staff when greeting you, and staff will maintain a 6 feet distance at all times unless absolutely necessary.

  • You will be the only client in the suite at the time of your session.

  • Sessions in each of the two suites of our 2nd floor offices (Suite 204 and 209), have separate waiting areas in case you must be accompanied by a support person. If you attend with a necessary support person, they will therefore not have to share a waiting room with anyone else.

  • There will be a self check-in system that will prevent you from waiting inside the building.

  • Client sessions will be staggered so that you will not run into other LHA clients in the 2nd floor hallway. (Please note that we cannot control what the other suites on our floor do, and there may be clients of those businesses in the hallway).

  • To ensure proper physical distancing, all clients attending businesses on the second floor will be asked to circulate in a clockwise direction through the hallway.

  • Only two people will be allowed in the building washrooms, with only one at the sink at a time while maintaining six feet of distance at all times.

  • Only two people will be allowed in the building elevator at a time, and there will be floor markers indicating where they should stand to ensure proper physical distancing.

  • The building will be engaging in regular disinfecting of high touch areas in public areas of the building.

 

Clients will be asked to do the following to decrease risk:

  • COVID screening: you will be asked to answer COVID screening questions 24-48 hours prior to your appointment.

  • You will be required to wear a mask (cloth masks are acceptable) when entering the building and the clinic. If clients do not have a mask, their session will be re-scheduled.

  • You will be required to wash your hands in the 2nd floor bathroom prior to entering the clinic and will be provided hand sanitizer before entering the treatment room.

  • You are asked to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet/2 metres from others in the building, including with therapist, whenever possible.

  • You are asked to come into the building by yourself and for family members to wait for you in the car, unless absolutely necessary for someone to attend with you.

  • You will be screened for COVID symptoms at the start of your session, and if you have symptoms, you will be advised to call 811 and the session will be ended immediately.  In this case, please obtain a COVID test prior to scheduling your next in-person appointment. Otherwise, please book a virtual appointment

 

Thank-you for your help with making this transition to in-person care safe for everyone.

 

Yours in health and wellness,

Lesley Hartman, M.A.

Psychologist and Practice Leader

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