COVID 19 Safe Plan for Face to Face Appointments
Chris Mackey and Associates reserve the right to change sessions from face to face to Telehealth at short notice eg. In the event of ill health or potential viral exposure of one of our staff members or a client/direct contact of the practice.
From November 2020 we are resuming limited days of face to face consulting
Public Health Rules
- We ask that you are 100% well when you come for your appointments face to face. If you have been unwell in the past 2 weeks or develop any symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, headaches, fatigue prior to attending the practice we will change the appointment to Telehealth.
- We ask that you do not attend in person if you have been in contact with anyone suspected to be a positive case of COVID for > 2 weeks prior to your appointment.
- We ask that you do not attend face-to-face sessions for now if you work in Melbourne
- Hands must be sanitised on arrival and again prior to paying accounts. Sanitiser is available at reception and in all consulting areas.
- You will be required to wear a mask at all times when inside the practice (face shields alone or bandannas are not sufficient protection, unfortunately)
- High touch areas will be disinfected regularly
Please arrive at the time of your appointment and phone 5224 1222 from your car when you have parked (if the phone goes to message bank please leave a message). We will phone you when your psychologist is ready to start the session. The door will likely be locked when you arrive.
- We do not have the capacity for people to arrive ahead of their scheduled appointment time. Please do not bring extra family or friends not essential to the appointment.
- We can only attend to one client at a time at the reception desks and apologise for delays.
- Our reception areas have a strict limit of 2 people. You may sit in the waiting room whilst waiting to pay at reception if there are less than 2 people in the room.
- Please adhere to the 1.5 metre spacing between people.
- You may be asked to wait temporarily outside on the verandah if the waiting room is at capacity.
- If you are running late for your appointment please phone us as we have to strictly manage arrival and departure times.
Chairs in the consulting rooms will be spaced > 1.5 metres apart and your psychologist will wear a mask and face shield.
- Please bring a water bottle (for your hydration) to reduce the use of disposable cups
- Please dress in layers as it will be necessary to have a window open during sessions
If you exhibit any cold and flu symptoms during the session it will be necessary for your psychologist to ask you to finish the session via telephone from your car.
After Your Session
Payment and making appointment times at reception will have to be kept to an absolute minimum. Please attend to payments first as we can do appointments via phone if the waiting room is at full capacity.
The Future of Telehealth
Until the end of March (at least) you have the option to continue sessions via Zoom or telephone. This is the preferred public health option to reduce our community’s exposure to potential risk. You may choose to alternate Telehealth with face to face sessions
All of our psychologists are now accepting appointments for telehealth, which can be arranged as either video sessions or over the phone. The vast majority of our currently scheduled clients have made the transition to telehealth contact from face to face. We’re glad to say the feedback has broadly been very favourable from our clients and psychologists alike.
Following the Australian Government’s quickly updated arrangements for Medicare rebates and telehealth, our telehealth sessions can generally operate quite similarly to before within the Medicare system. GP referrals are still required, although these can now be obtained over the phone or via video call with your GP. Payments are generally equivalent to our previous face to face session arrangements, although there are some specific variations that continue to be clarified. Our admin staff can provide details for your specific circumstances. Private health insurance rebates may apply for those seen outside of the Medicare system.
We understand that face-to-face sessions through Workcover, TAC, NDIS and other organisations will continue through telehealth contact under usual payment arrangements.
The changes in arrangements for Medicare sessions have evolved so rapidly and in a step by step fashion, that we have had to alter feedback about our payment arrangements each week. Thanks for your forbearance in understanding what might at times have seemed like confusing or conflicting messages in the meantime. Our well staffed admin team continue to update their understanding of current arrangements on a daily basis.
We will continue to expand our online services and social media offerings over the coming months. We will announce these innovations on the Chris Mackey and Associates Facebook page and our monthly newsletter. An early example is our new podcast, Lockdown: Character strengths and silver linings, which describes core strategies from positive psychology that might help us cope with living in relative seclusion over coming months.
We anticipate providing a range of telehealth groups to help people manage with current increased challenges. These might include groups for parents, those who’ve lost their jobs, employers, those who are socially isolated, or those suffering from particular types of psychological problems, including anxiety about COVID-19. We will develop groups according to identified need and interest. You can indicate your interest as well as view a list of possible groups by clicking here.
In the meantime, please check out our resources page, which has a wide range of free mental health tips, handouts and videos on topics we typically discuss with our clients. Videos are also available on the Chris Mackey Psychology YouTube channel.
During this unprecedented period of social distancing, we are committed to offering a range of services to alleviate distress and foster an optimistic outlook through these difficult times. We really believe that as individuals, families and as a community we are likely to discover a number of unanticipated benefits, or silver linings, from adapting to the new challenges we face.
We have compiled a list of helpful links with some positive websites to help you through some of the tougher times, mental health resources that we’ve found to be most useful and articles specific to the current crisis, please feel free to check them out or pass them on to someone who may benefit.
Watch a short video on the topic below
Principal psychologist Chris and Digital Media Manager Rowan have also started a podcast about applying the themes of positive psychology to the challenges we’re all facing. It can be accessed at the podcast page Lockdown: Character Strengths and Silver Linings.