accessibility by Virtual Care (video) during COVID-19

Health care professionals are adopting best practices to control the outbreak of  COVID-19 during 2020-21. While many who contract the coronavirus will experience mild to moderate symptoms, the long term impact is still unclear — even among those who appear asymptomatic. Further, the safety of our family and community members who are more vulnerable requires a group effort. 

Medical evidence suggests that our best response continues to be to avoid in-person indoor meetings when possible, with the important goal of limiting new cases so that our health system can effectively manage those cases at high risk. I believe this is the correct approach. In accordance with the recommendation of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, I will be continuing to offer appointments by video.

I am able to provide support to you. You are welcome to consider which option best meets your needs:

1. You can book an appointment by video. I offer appointments through Virtual Care. It is a secure platform — end-to-end encrypted, PHIPA and PIPEDA compliant — endorsed by the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMHP). 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. Many clients using Virtual Care have reported to me that they appreciate the ease of access through video counselling.

2. You can book an appointment by phone. Telephonic counselling is ‘tried and true’, used by EAP programs and crisis lines since their inception, and by many of you in the past when unable to attend in person.

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 health crisis still lays with basic daily hygiene practice. Wear a mask while in any indoor (enclosed airspace) public space. 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. And maintain a 2 m (6′) distance from others.

In 2021, I will revisit the possibility of opening up office space for in person meetings. If you have any questions about the comfort, privacy, and ease of video counselling, please don’t hesitate to phone or email and let me know. I would be happy to give you an opportunity to try it out. I am confident you will be pleasantly surprised by its convenience while maintaining all the benefits of counselling.

Stephen Douglas MA (cert)OAMHP RP

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