2020 was the year where the use of the word ‘unprecedented’ hit, well, unprecedented levels! We went through so much together and we’re grateful to our clients, their families, and, of course, our staff for their ongoing flexibility with regard to the measures we’ve introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you know Hopscotch and Harmony, like many other businesses, have had to adapt our practices to protect those most vulnerable within our community. All Victorians know the hard work and dedication that was required to get the COVID-19 infection numbers down to the low levels that we’re now accustomed to seeing in early 2021.
This has, inevitably, led to questions about when our clinicians will start seeing clients face-to-face in the rooms again. Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this! 

Some clinicians have let the management team know that Telehealth and Teletherapy works well for their clients and suits their personal circumstances, and they have no intention of resuming face-to-face work in the foreseeable future. The management staff at Hopscotch and Harmony support them in this. 

Other clinicians are ready and able to start seeing some clients within the rooms. However, there MUST be clear limitations on both the number of clients we see in the rooms at any given time, as well as an ongoing adherence to the DHHS rules around COVID-19 restrictions. These continue to state that if our clinicians CAN work from home – they MUST work from home. This means that in the short-term, for many of our clients, they will continue to receive their therapy over Telehealth.

For some clients, though, despite everyone’s best efforts, Telehealth just isn’t suitable. In cases where a client’s ability to receive psychological treatment is compromised if their only option is Telehealth, the DHHS has let us know that these clients can now be offered appointments in the clinics. As this will take some preparation, we are letting our clients know that as of the 1st of March 2021, some clinicians will be offering some appointments face-to-face in both our Werribee and Belmont offices.

This doesn’t mean that we’re going to be offering face-to-face appointments to all clients, though!

What it does mean is that if a client’s ability to receive treatment is compromised by one of the following factors, they may be offered a face-to-face appointment by their clinician:

  • If they do not have access to stable internet, or a device that is appropriate on which to access services
  • If their age and/or presentation mean that they cannot receive therapy over Telehealth AND
  • Where parent-support sessions are not a suitable way for a client to be receiving Telehealth sessions in the above case.

Unfortunately due to limitations on the number of people in the rooms at any given time, each clinician will have a very limited number of face to face sessions that can be offered each week, so where-ever and whenever possible, Teletherapy will remain our number one way of providing therapy throughout our COVID normal plan. This means that even if one session is held face-to-face, the next session may be held over Telehealth should any factors change.

We do note that as we approach the cold and ‘flu cold season in Victoria, we all need to be vigilant and continue to work hard to protect ourselves and each other. This means that, even if you’ve been offered a face-to-face appointment, you may not come to the rooms if:

  • you show any signs of communicable illness (even ones with different symptoms to COVID-19!) 
  • you or somebody who lives with you is awaiting the results of a COVID test, 
  • you have recently travelled to one of the hotspots and/or have been advised to seek a COVID-19 test. 

Your clinician may also need to switch your session back to Telehealth at the last minute should they or somebody in their household become ill. 

We encourage you to have a chat to your clinician about whether they’re planning to return to some face-to-face work, and if so, whether you or your child might be eligible for sessions in the clinic. 

Take care everyone!

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