COVID-19 Safety Plan and Policies

As of June 01, 2020 Alpine Pathways Psychological Services will offer in person psychology sessions when appropriate and in accordance with WorkSafe BC regulations and safety planning. Telehealth options including phone and video sessions will continue to be available. 

Please note: All policies and procedures will be updated with any new orders or regulations directed by municipal, provincial, or federal governments, public health orders, WorkSafe BC, and/or the College of Psychologists of BC. This will include ceasing in person sessions if necessary.

Informed Consent Policy

In person sessions will require a discussion and signature of consent to COVID-19 safety policies and plans. This informed consent will be sent to clients ahead of their session in order for clients to make informed choices about in person versus Telehealth options. 

Symptom and Circumstance Policy

All in person sessions must be rescheduled or moved to Telehealth platforms if any of the following symptoms (even if minor) or circumstances are present for either the client(s) or psychologist:

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 present in the ten days previous to a booked session including: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle ache, or headache. If you arrive to session with any of these symptoms you will respectfully be asked to leave the office and use Telehealth options or reschedule.

  • Direction from public health to self-isolate.

  • Anyone who has arrived from outside of Canada in the 10 days prior to a session.

  • Anyone who has come in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

Physical Distancing and Hygiene Policy

My office is taking the following precautions to protect clients and help slow the spread of the coronavirus:

  • Office seating in the therapy/testing rooms has been arranged for appropriatephysical distancing (at least 2m). 

  • My office is large enough to support more than adequate physical distancing (at least two metres) measures so we are not required to   wear masks, a client is welcome to wear one if they so choose.

  • Prior to appointments, all clients and your psychologist will be asked to complete a self-assessment tool (e.g., BC COVID-19 Self- Assessment Tool)

  • Pre-screening questions upon arrival for your testing sessions will be conducted

  • Restroom soap dispensers are maintained and everyone is encouraged to wash their hands.

  • Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is available in the therapy/testing rooms.

  • I schedule appointments 30 minutes apart and I do not have a waiting room. 

  • I ask all patients to wait in their cars or outside until no earlier than 5 minutes before their appointment times.

  • Door handles, pens and other areas that are commonly touched are thoroughly sanitized after each use.

  • Physical contact is not permitted.

  • Tissues and trash bins are easily accessed. Trash is disposed of on a frequent basis.

  • Common areas are thoroughly disinfected at the end of each day.

  • I will not be offering tea or water for the time being, clients are welcome to bring their own, in their own cup.

COVID-19 SAFETY PLAN IN COMPLIANCE WITH WORKSAFE BC RETURN TO SAFE OPERATIONS PLANNING

 

The College of Psychologists of British Columbia and Worksafe BC has directed that registrants may proceed with in-person services that comply with the College of Psychologists of BC, WorksafeBC, The Provincial Heath Officers of BC, and the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDBD). Prior to your appointment please review the following information regarding the regulations that will be put in place to keep us all safe. 

 

STEP 1: Assess the risk at your workplace

I, Dr. Tyla Charbonneau of Alpine Pathways Psychological Services (henceforth referred to as I) acknowledge the risks associated with COVID-19 and that it can be transmitted through droplets, coughs, sneezes, touching your face, and contaminated surfaces. I acknowledge that the risk of person-to person transmission increases when in close proximity, as well as when people come in contact with the same surfaces over short period of time, and I have created measures to address these risks in my practice within this safety plan. 

 

I am the only employee of Alpine Pathways Psychological Services and I will adhere to the safety protocols put in place by WorkSafe BC, The College of Psychologist of BC, public health officers, and municipal, provincial, and federal governments.

 

I do not have areas in my office where more than 3 people, including myself, will gather. I do not have a waiting room.  I will space clients appointments 30 minutes apart meaning only myself and the client or at maximum two clients with be present at any given time for a maximum of five appointments per day, three days a week. 

 

I have identified any shared equipment such as pens, seating areas, and surfaces that will be sanitized before and after each client. I have removed all unnecessary items for communal use.

 

STEP 2: Implement protocols to reduce the risk

I have reviewed the industry-specific protocols on worksafebc.com, assessed the risks in my practice, and developed protocols that follow provincial and WorkSafe BC protocols. 

 

I will check orders, guidance, and notices issued by the provincial health officer, WorkSafe BC, BCCCDC, and the College of Psychologists of BC regularly and amend my protocols and safety plans as necessary.

 

Due to the size of my office space (900 square feet), I am able to reduce the risk of person-to-person transmission through the first layer of protection according to WorkSafe BC. This means limiting the number of people in the office space at one time (max 3), allowing plenty of space in the doorway area, and in the seating area we will adhere to physical distancing measures of at least two metres.  

 

I will also continue online and phone counselling options for all clients. There will be a required informed consent for all in person appointments during COVID-19 that highlights a client may choose to return to Telehealth options at any time, if they are showing symptoms, if I am showing symptoms, or if we have been exposed to the virus. 

 

This Safety plan will be posted on the website, door, and will be emailed to all clients prior to their first in person session at Alpine Pathways Psychological Services. 

 

STEP 3: Develop policies

My office is taking the following precautions to protect clients and help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Office seating in the therapy/testing rooms has been arranged for appropriatephysical distancing (at least 2m). 

  • My office is large enough to support more than adequate physical distancing (at least two metres) measures so we are not required to   wear masks, a client is welcome to wear one if they so choose.

  • Prior to appointments, all clients and your psychologist will be asked to complete a self-assessment tool (e.g., BC COVID-19 Self- Assessment Tool)

  • Pre-screening questions upon arrival for your testing sessions will be conducted

  • Restroom soap dispensers are maintained and everyone is encouraged to wash their hands.

  • Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is available in the therapy/testing rooms.

  • I schedule appointments 30 minutes apart and I do not have a waiting room. 

  • I ask all patients to wait in their cars or outside until no earlier than 5 minutes before their appointment times.

  • Door handles, pens and other areas that are commonly touched are thoroughly sanitized after each use.

  • Physical contact is not permitted.

  • Tissues and trash bins are easily accessed. Trash is disposed of on a frequent basis.

  • Common areas are thoroughly disinfected at the end of each day.

  • I will not be offering tea or water for the time being, clients are welcome to bring their own, in their own cup.

 

Clients will be prohibited from attending in person psychology sessions, and telehealth options or rescheduling options will be available, if:

  • They have experienced any of the following symptoms in the 10 days previous to their session: fever, chills, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, new muscle aches or headaches.

  • They have been directed by public health to self-isolate.

  • They have arrived from outside of Canada or come in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

 

Please Note: If clients need to cancel appointments last minute due to symptoms of COVID-19, I will wave my cancellation fee policy.

 

I will take my temperature daily and inform clients if I have any of the above-mentioned symptoms and advise clients of the need to meet via telehealth or reschedule appointments. 

 

If, at any time during in person sessions a client starts to feel ill I will end the appointment and advise making an appointment with their doctor, calling 811, and when necessary in an emergency call 911. The office will then be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. 

 

STEP 4: Develop a communication plan and training.

I will keep up to date on all policies and procedures presented by WorkSafe BC, municipal, provincial, and federal governments, provincial health authorities, BCCDC, and the College of Psychologists of BC. 

 

Signage will be posted in the office, on my website, and distributed via email regarding occupancy and hygiene practices for in person sessions. 

 

Signage will also be posted at the front door and distributed via email regarding when clients would be restricted from entering the premise. This will address symptomology specifically.

 

I will monitor myself for symptoms on a daily basis and advise clients as needed. 

 

STEP 5: Monitor your workplace and update plans as necessary.

I will amend this safety plan accordingly as new areas of concern in the office or new information from governing bodies arise.

 

STEP 6: Assess and address the risks from resuming operations.

I have read all the required documents from the provincial health officer, the College of Psychologists of BC, BCCDC, and WorkSafe BC. I am aware of the new responsibilities in the time of COVID-19 and have prepared an in person during COVID-19 informed consent for clients and will distribute it prior to their first in person appointment so they are aware of the terms and can then make decisions to attend in person or via telehealth accordingly. Telehealth options will remain in place until the pandemic has been declared over. 

 

SAFETY PLAN SPECIFIC TO IN PERSON PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES CONSIDERATIONS

 

Virtual Services

Telehealth options including phone and video sessions will be available and encouraged on an ongoing basis. Clients who would like to proceed with in person sessions must sign an informed consent outlying the rules, regulations, and risks attached to in person session in the time of COVID-19. This informed consent will highlight the need to return to telehealth options should I or the client have symptoms of COVID-19 or be exposed to a confirmed case. If this informed consent is not agreed to then telehealth options will remain in place.

 

The office will have a max amount of two clients at a time for a session up to a maximum of five times in the day, three days a week. 

 

Illness policies will be posted on the website, sent via email prior to appointments, posted on the front door and in the office. Voicemail will also be updated to reflect these policies.

 

Should a client who has scheduled an in person session experience any symptoms of COVID-19, they have the option to switch to a telehealth session or reschedule. In the event of symptoms, the 24 hour cancellation fee policy will be waived. Should a client arrive to an in person session with symptoms they will respectfully be asked to leave the office and use telehealth options or reschedule the appointment.

 

Before the Appointment

An email will be sent to each client prior to their first in person session outlining telehealth and in person options, including the need for informed consent. The COVID-19 safety plan and hygiene practices will also be sent. This will allow clients to chose which option is best and to make an informed decision with awareness of COVID-19 policies and procedures. 

 

All non-essential items will be removed from the office area including the tea and water station. The office does not have a waiting room and appointments are booked 30 minutes apart. Clients will be informed to arrive no more than 5 minutes prior to their appointment time.

 

During the Appointment

No one other than the client (or clients (2) in the case of couples) is allowed access to the office for the appointment. 

 

The washroom sink will be available for hand washing prior to the appointment and after. Hand sanitizer will also be present on the table for all clients. 

 

There will be no handshakes or physical contact during the appointment and physical distancing will be mandatory. There is more than 2m of space between the seating area for the client and the psychologist. 

 

Payment preference will be etransfer. All receipts and resources will be sent electronically.

 

If the client would be more comfortable, they would be welcome to wear a mask. 

 

Hygiene Protocols

Clients will be required to wash their hands prior to attending the appointment and a sink with soap is available in the office space. Hand sanitizer and garbage cans (regularly disposed) will also be available. 

 

Good respiratory etiquette will be ensured such as making sure clients and psychologists cover their nose and mouth with the crease of elbow or with tissue when coughing or sneezing. 

 

All high touch areas (door knobs, pens, table tops) will be sanitized in between each client. 

Fernie, Elk Valley, and Southern Alberta

tyla@alpinepathwayspsychology.com

1-250-423-8656

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© 2020 Tyla Charbonneau, PhD., R. Psych