COVID-19 Safety protocol: Last Updated 7 Jan 2021
In accordance with government guidelines we remain open for limited face-to-face work where face-to-face sessions are deemed more beneficial than online work for that individual.
Some venues will be allowed to remain open for specific exempt activities, like childcare and support groups. Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support – but they must take place at a premises other than a private home. This includes, but is not limited to, support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people caring for those with long-term or terminal illnesses, or who are vulnerable, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, those who have suffered bereavement, and vulnerable young people, including for them to meet youth workers.
This protocol has been designed to keep safe all who use the building. We ask you to abide by it so that everyone who uses the building is kept as safe as possible. Whilst we have taken measures to significantly reduce the risks of contracting/transmitting COVID-19 all parties enter into face-to-face sessions in the knowledge that the risks of infection, whilst reduced, are not eradicated.
We envisage that the re-introduction of face-to-face sessions will be gradual over the coming weeks and months and at the discretion of each associate and client diad.
We will continue to monitor government advice. We will need to react to fluctuations in local COVID-19 cases so may need to temporarily suspend face-to-face sessions at short notice.
Clients/supervisees: please email your therapist/supervisor prior to resuming face-to-face sessions to confirm you have read and understand our policy. Thank you for your co-operation.
Face coverings: our current interpretation of the latest guidelines are that face coverings will be mandatory for clients over the age of 11 unless exempt. We politely request that you wear a face covering on arrival and in shared spaces within the building. Removal once you are seated in your therapy room is at the discretion of both associate and client in accordance with exemption guidelines only.
Exemptions include (but not limited to):
- children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
- people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- employees of indoor settings (or people acting on their behalf, such as someone leading part of a prayer service) or transport workers – although employers may consider their use where appropriate and where other mitigations are not in place, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidelines
- police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public
- where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
- to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others – including if it would negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity
If you are exempt from wearing a cloth face covering we ask that, where possible, you wear a face shield/visor instead. Given that the visor protects the wearer and the face covering protects ‘the other’ we ask that, for the safety of all parties, you have an open discussion about this as you meet.
Please be mindful and respectful of exemption circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.
Some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign.
This is a personal choice and is not necessary in law.
Hygiene protocol 1: Associates only
All associates working online from the building take responsibility for wiping the desk, door handles, light switches, signs, taps and any other surfaces they have come into contact with BEFORE and AFTER you start your block of sessions
Hygiene protocol 2: Associates and Clients
All associates working face-to-face with clients take responsibility for wiping the desk, door handles, light switches, signs, taps and any other surfaces they have come into contact with BEFORE and AFTER you start your block of sessions. Wipe front door handles on arrival and departure. Please provide your own pack of wipes and sanitiser so we reduce potential areas of contamination
Associates will open doors for clients (same protocol for individual and couples+ and the assumption is the couple are living in the same house: couples+ not living in same house are asked to remain online for the time being) so clients do not need to touch anything and maintain social distancing measures whilst you do it:
a) Clients will step back at least 2 metres from the door once they have texted the associate to signal their arrival (rather than ringing the doorbell). Should the client forget and ring the doorbell, please sanitise it.
b) Associates will open the front door fully and step back to allow the client to cross the threshold safely, then wipe the door handles as door is closed.
c) The clinic door will already be open, and the client is to walk directly into the clinic (without touching anything) and sit in the client chair (associates: please let new clients know in advance which seat to use).
d) Clients are invited to bring their own hand sanitiser to use upon seating if they wish.
e) Associates will wait for the client to be seated, will then enter the room and also sit down, using their own hand sanitiser if desired
f) Associates, please ensure the tissue boxes have the next tissue ready to extract and do your best so that the client does not need to touch the tissue box. If they do need to touch it, please wipe after use along with other surfaces.
The rooms have been re-designed with COVID safety in mind. Please do not move the chairs closer together. Silver tape squares have been placed next to all of the chair legs to indicate the 2 meter distance. If, for any reason, you feel the need to move the chairs, please ensure that at least 2 meter distance is maintained. If at all possible, do not move the chairs as they cannot be wiped down afterwards. Couch roll has been provided in each room and will be replaced following each face-to-face session. (Associate, please fold used side in on itself and place in regular recycling bin.)
Our QR code is provided on our hall table for anyone wishing to use it.
Signs of illness
Should associates or clients show any signs of colds, coughs, flu, sore throat, COVID-19, we ask that the session/s are moved online/phone for 10 days. Also, if either party have knowingly been in the presence of someone with symptoms we ask that you revert to online/phone sessions for 10 days. All will need to follow the current guidelines for getting tested and provide details for Track & Trace.
Each party holds an obligation to be aware of and report to the other, any factors which may occur which could increase the risk of infection/transmission during the face-to-face sessions. Prior to each meeting, both associate/client will be self-assessed as to whether they have adhered to the current guidelines within the last 10 days and/or whether the client’s job (e.g. key worker) generates a greater risk to the associate/practice. Prior to each session we ask of each of you: Have your circumstances enabled you to adhere to the current government guidelines within the last 10 days?
We need to keep everyone in the building safe. Should your circumstances not have allowed this we will be happy to meet with you online.
To ensure your safety we are accepting online payments only; no cash will be accepted at the practice.
Water jugs and glasses have been temporarily removed from the rooms. Associates and clients: Please bring your own water bottles/flasks.
Should associate or client use the toilet: After using the toilet and washing your hands: open the door, take a surface wipe and clean, in this order, light switch, the door handle, tap, toilet seat, toilet handle and place the wipe in the bin. Then use your elbow/foot to open the door far enough for you to get out. Leave the door open.