Dear Parents, Carers, Clients and Families,
We hope you are continuing to stay well and safe, and that the challenges of home schooling are being replaced with the thought of school returning in the coming weeks. Our therapists have been enjoying seeing so many families online and it has opened up some wonderful opportunities to try new therapy ideas in the home environment.
Throughout the COVID-19 situation we have been guided by the advice of the Chief Health Officer, information provided by the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health. One of the things that resonated with us most strongly during this time is the concept spoken about by Jacinda Ardern (Prime Minister, NZ) that “before a pandemic, everything looks like an over-reaction, and afterwards things seem an under-reaction”.
We’ve worked through some big changes to our service prior to the COVID-19 lockdown; and now new changes and challenges are ahead! Over the coming weeks we will be navigating our new “normal” in an environment where careful management of the COVID-19 risk will allow us more freedom within our community.
Today’s update outlines:
1) Our plan for gradual return to face to face services – starting 1 June
2) School and community site visits
3) Staying healthy together in the clinic
1) The return of (limited) in-clinic services:
From Mon 1 June – Mon 13 July, some in-clinic sessions will be available.
As a clinic, we recommend that any services that can be delivered online should remain online where possible, especially through the onset of winter and the flu season. However, we acknowledge that for some clients, online sessions have limitations only addressed by face-to-face intervention.
During this period we will support our team (and our clients) to make their own choice about the risk involved for them in returning to face-to-face sessions. Many people, including our own therapists and administrators, have children or elderly relatives at home, their own health concerns or other reasons for not returning to face-to-face sessions, all of these are completely supported by DWSP.
What does this mean for you?
Therapists offering face-to-face sessions will initially provide one day per week of sessions in the clinic, and gradually increase over the next six weeks. Therapists have also pre-identified clients who would benefit from, or prefer to have, face-to-face sessions.
We’ll contact you to offer the option of a face-to-face session when it is available.
You can choose for the session to remain online if you wish to, (and you will be offered the option to reschedule your online session to allow another client this face-to-face spot). Please be aware you may be offered a face-to-face session on a different day or at a different clinic to your normal appointment. This will not be a permanent change, but is an opportunity to work face-to-face with your therapist in a one-off capacity.
You’ll be called ahead of the appointment to confirm you are still happy to attend the session in person, and to answer some health screening questions prior to your attendance.
We will be unable to accommodate families remaining in the waiting room for the duration of the therapy session – and in-session attendance will be limited to 1 parent / carer and the client.
How will DWSP be protecting my safety?
We’ll be taking a number of steps to make sure everyone is able to maintain social distances whilst at DWSP, and remain as safe as possible.
Only the reduced number of staff and clients scheduled to be on site that day will be in the building.
All our staff will be completing mandatory COVID-19 hygiene training prior to returning to the workplace. Session times will be spread out to ensure clients are not waiting together and that there is time to clean room, common areas and toys between clients, and clinic rooms will be wiped down thoroughly between clients.
Masks, gloves and hand sanitiser will be available on site. We will continue our procedure of washing hands together at the start and end of each session.
2) Home / school / community visits:
We support our therapists to decide whether they will offer this service over the next 6 weeks. Any therapist providing community sessions will advise our administrators, who will contact clients to arrange the sessions. We’ll also be informed by individual schools as to whether they are willing to have external practitioners onsite.
Therapists visiting the community will not be attending the clinic for sessions on the same day, ensuring we continue to manage the clinic environment.
3) Staying healthy together in the clinic:
Please contact us to change your appointment back to online if you, your child or any family members are unwell. Our therapists will also be following this guideline.
Should any member of your family have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, please contact us immediately to facilitate tracing and notification of others who were in the building that day.
We reserve the right to immediately return to online service provision with clients and families who are not following the guidelines for the safety of all.
Please note: Whilst we will all do our best to be safe, it is important to understand that there are still risks, e.g. children can’t be expected to socially distance all the time, people may attend the clinic whilst unknowingly unwell, etc. Resuming face- to-face remains client and therapist choice, and whilst we are accepting of the choice, we acknowledge the limitations and inherent risks involved.
Adjusting to a new normal after such an abnormal time will bring different reactions from everyone in our community as we return to the clinic, therapy, school and daily life. We’re taking it step by step, and plan to gradually continue increasing days and available sessions as we walk together through this time.
We would all dearly love to jump back in to our busy clinic environment, but we’re continuing to take a conservative and socially responsible position with our client care and team safety, and we’re grateful for your understanding and support with this.
As always, we are guided by the information available to us and will continue to keep you informed as things progress. In the meantime, we’ll review again on Monday 13 July, and continue a gradual increase of services in the meantime.
We’re looking forward to seeing you in person again soon!
The DWSP Team