As of May, 2020, Premier Doug Ford lifted certain restrictions that were previously in place to help flatten the curve of COVID-19.
While the Ontario government has deemed all businesses that provide "health services, including mental health and addictions and counselling supports" as essential services, health professionals are also subject to the Chief Medical Officer directive requiring all non-essential health care services to be reduced to minimal levels. This directive explains that "allowable exceptions can be made for time-sensitive circumstances to avert or avoid negative patient outcomes or to avert or avoid a situation that would have a direct impact on the safety of patients."
The College of Registered Psychotherapists has advised that psychotherapists consider which services are essential on a case-by-case basis. We have been directed to move as much of our work online as possible to prevent the spread of infection unless there are instances where it is not appropriate to do so. Therefore, my hope is that patients and I will be able to work collaboratively to decide if in-person sessions are required or if online sessions are sufficient given that it continues to be the safer option at this time.
Here is what we are requiring from anyone attending in-person sessions at our Markham or Vaughan office:
• Please wait in your car until just a couple minutes before your appointment to avoid multiple people being in the lobby area at one time.
• You will be required to wear a mask in all of the common areas of the office. It is your choice to leave your mask on or off in-session.
• You will be asked to sanitize and/or wash your hands upon entering the office.
• At our Vaughan office, your temperature will be taken with an infrared thermometer.
• You will be asked to sign a form that confirms that you do not presently have—and have not had within the past 14 days—any symptoms of COVID-19.
more important information
All furniture is being sprayed down with a disinfectant after each in-person session. This disinfectant kills viruses on soft fabrics/materials.
At the end of each session, I am using a paper towel saturated with an anti-viral disinfectant on all hard surfaces.
I have been increasing the amount of time between sessions to ensure that there are no more than 1 - 2 people in my waiting room at any given time.
All patients who have informed me of being outside of Canada within the past 14 days are self-isolating and engaging in online sessions.
We have increased the frequency and scope of disinfection practices throughout all areas of the clinic with effective EPA-recommended products. This includes wiping down all surfaces between sessions, including doorknobs, light switches, Kleenex boxes, the doorbell and more.
I have received refresher training on disinfecting protocols and hand-washing techniques.
We will kindly be asking all patients to wash their hands using the motion-activated sink in my office.
I do not come into contact with any co-workers as my office door remains closed all day. Specifically, I have a quick 'how are you?' conversation of about 5 - 10 seconds with someone else on my floor about once every 1 - 2 weeks.
I am continuing to accept electronic payments via Square or e-transfer to ensure that no one is coming in contact with a share payment terminal.
Maintaining your mental and physical health
I invite you to check out my blog on how to maintain your mental health during this time. I've also blogged about how to naturally support your immune system through nutrition. These recommendations do not replace the efficacy of physical distancing and appropriate hand-washing techniques.
Sliding scale options
Throughout the year, I provide a sliding scale fee to a certain number of patients, which includes five sessions at $100 + HST for daytime appointments. There is currently a waitlist of about two months for this sliding scale fee.
Effective handwashing instructions
All patients will kindly be asked to wash their hands using the following protocol upon entering my office: