As we all navigate our lives in this difficult pandemic era, I continue to consider how to best manage the risks in my practice. My aim is to provide the best clinical services I can, while I factor in both my own preferences and risk assessments as well as the preferences of my patients and their assessment of their own personal risks in their own particular situations. I believe that unmasked in-person therapy is optimal, butthat is not always wise or practical and in our current conditions and, for many, the risks may not outweigh the benefits. I work to remain aware of current CDC recommendations, county/state regulations and local outbreak conditions and work those into a plan which allows me to help my patients in the best way I can while, at the same time, keeping risk to myself and others at a minimum.
To that end, I am adhering to the following COVID risk mitigation plan at present and will update this document as conditions change. Keep in mind that I will hold no judgments about whatever you decide is best for you. We all have different ways of assessing the risks and benefits of whatever choices we make. I will honor whatever way of working together you deem best for you.
1) VIRTUAL VISITS ARE THE DEFAULT: Unless we arrange otherwise, all clinical visits will occur by video platform (Zoom).
I will send you a zoom invitation by email the morning of your appointment.
If you need some instruction on how to use Zoom, please let me know.
To ensure privacy, I will be using the “waiting room” function on Zoom.
I will let you into the meeting at the appointed time after I am notified you are there.
If you prefer, for any reason, to meet by phone that is fine. Just let me know and we’ll figure out who calls whom.
And if there is a different video platform you prefer for any reason, let me know.
2) I AM WILLING TO MEET IN PERSON: I consider that my office is a reasonably safe place to meet and I am willing to meet in person if that is your preference and/or the kind of work we are doing requires that we meet in person.
Please let me know in advance if that is what you prefer.
It is also important that our meeting in person (as outlined below) is acceptable to other people in your life as you are putting yourself - and therefore them - at some higher risk.
Do not come to the office if you are even slightly symptomatic with any of the various COVID-19 symptoms: cough, fever, fatigue, loss of sense of taste or smell, sore throat, and headache. Or, frankly, since this disease varies widely, it could be any symptom for you that is unusual and unexplained.
I will also assume that you will take your temperature before you come to the office and will not come if you have even the slightest fever (over 99.5).
If you don’t have a thermometer, I can take your temperature with a contact-less thermometer when you arrive.
If we have to cancel an in-person appointment for the above reasons we can revert to a virtual meeting.
There will be no charge for a meeting that you have to cancel at last minute because you are symptomatic
If you do come to the office, please plan to wait in your car until your appointment time to minimize time in the waiting room.
There is a restroom off of the waiting room. Feel free to use this before your appointment.
Please be assured that I will not see patients in the office if I am symptomatic and I will take my temperature before you arrive.
I will not have you sign any kind of waiver, but I will assume that if you come to my office you are aware of the potential risks inherent in meeting that way.
PLEASE NOTE REGARDING SAFETY OF OFFICE MEETINGS:
I am the only one working in my office suite at the present time.
There is direct access to my suite from the parking lot and it is very unlikely you will encounter other people.
I take the following safety measures and adhere to them without fail.
I keep windows open when possible and I keep the office well ventilated.
If it is too hot to keep windows open, I leave my office door ajar and keep fan circulating air in the suite.
I disinfect doorknobs and seats between patients.
I do my best to maintain a “social distance” of at least 6 feet which is easy to arrange in my office.
MASK POLICY: As a DEFAULT, I ask that you come to your appointment wearing a mask and I will do the same.
.However, if you prefer, you may remove your mask once we get to the office.
I will take your lead. If you remove yours, I will feel free to remove mine.
3) MEETING OUTSIDE:
SITTING: My office does have a (SMALL) covered front porch area and I can set up chairs there to meet and have a fan running if it is hot or we want ventilation. NOTE: this is not a particularly private area. You’ll have to judge for yourself if it’s private enough for you.
WALKING: We also have the option of meeting outside by walking while we talk if you want to try that or if sitting area doesn’t feel private enough.
There is a non-strenuous 2-mile loop from my office parking lot that takes about 45’ to walk.
This loop is mostly quiet and we’re unlikely to run into other people but, of course, that cannot be ensured.
And obviously our ability to walk is very weather dependent.
If it is raining or too hot, we would revert to another way to meet.
We could easily meet in my office instead or meet virtually with each of us in separate offices.
Or we could sit in the covered front area.
If you want to meet in this way, please let me know the day before.
We can check the weather ahead of time.
And perhaps adjust time to meet slightly to give me time to cool down before my next appointment.