accessibility for clients during COVID-19 *updated regularly*

I want to take a quick moment to assure you of my availability to support you by phone or video during the current outbreak of COVID-19.

I understand that health risks are individual and require individual responses according to each unique person’s risk assessment. The majority of individuals who contract COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms, but the safety of those who are more vulnerable requires a group effort.

As Canadians we have decided the best response is to stay home where at all possible, to reduce meetings to only those that are essential, all with the important goal of ‘flattening’ the number of reported new cases so that our health system can effectively manage those cases at high risk. I believe this is the correct approach.

On a week-by-week basis, therefore, we will be closing the office to general use or programs. I am still working, however, and able to provide support to you. You are welcome to consider which of three options best meets your needs:

1. You can book an appointment by video. I offer appointments through On Call Health. It is a secure platform — end-to-end encrypted, PHIPA and PIPEDA compliant — used by organizations like CAMH, Homewood, and Shoppers Health Solutions. All you require is a private space to use and your own personal computer/laptop. It is an easy platform to use, I send you a link and you follow a few straightforward instructions. Requirements: Windows 7 or later (PC), OSX 10.10 or later (Mac). Many clients using On Call have reported to me that they appreciate the ease of access through video counselling.

2. You can book an appointment by phone.

3. Clients who are asymptomatic (do not have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing), have not recently travelled outside of Canada, have not had contact with anyone either diagnosed with or suspected of having the coronavirus, and are not at higher risk (elderly, have a history of lung or bronchial illness, or have a compromised immune response) and for personal reasons are not able to consider either of the above alternatives can still attend in person. Please call me to discuss your particular circumstance.

If you have an appointment booked with me in office for the week ahead, I will contact you by phone to discuss your options for service and scheduling needs.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you are feeling a little overwhelmed in the moment. Let’s help one another keep our spirits up. In adversity our spirit has a chance to shine, as we rediscover the real strength that exists within ourselves and our community.

And remember, the key to our successful management of this disease still lays with basic daily hygiene practice. Engage in proper handwashing technique anytime you move from one social environment to another and remember to cough or sneeze into a tissue, handkerchief, or the crook of your elbow. Even if you are not socially isolating, practice voluntary social distancing while the coronavirus remains a risk to our community; try to maintain a 2 m (6′) distance from others.

Don’t worry if you need to reschedule. I’ll be here when you are feeling better again!

Stephen Douglas MA (cert)OAMHP RP

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