How I’m working during the COVID-19 pandemic

As restrictions start to ease in the UK, we face a period of uncertainty. The challenges of the pandemic and how it has impacted us continue and it feels important to me that we keep an ongoing dialogue, navigating these challenges together. 

How I am responding…

I want to continue to support my clients and those who are looking for support as things start to shift. I am happy to carry out initial consultations online or by telephone and for those looking to work in-person, we can meet face to face if this is preferred.

Current work
 
I am currently seeing clients face to face, online or by telephone. Where I am based at Ullet Road Eco Offices, we continue to take care to look after those at higher risk.

Considerations for working face to face

As restrictions have eased considerably across the country and vaccinations and boosters are now offered, it feels important to let you know how things are changing as we move forward. I have had my second vaccination (plus a booster), and whilst that does not mean I am risk free in terms of catching or carrying COVID-19, it offers more flexibility in how we can work together. 

The most up-to-date information with regard to COVID-19 is available here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ and you will see from this the focus is much more about living safely with respiratory infections.

The Eco Offices where I am based, have completed a risk assessment of the building and a copy of this is available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KTT2NKrOK8MUUCGmaMY7uU8DWEAD-VeO/ (updated March 2022)

What will happen if I arrange a face to face appointment?

Before you arrive:

Please consider the following when deciding whether to attend your appointment.

    • Have you experienced the following symptoms:
        • a high temperature
        • a new and continuous cough
        • a loss or change to sense of smell or taste

(The full list of symptoms is available on the NHS website here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/main-symptoms/)

As these factors place you at high risk of having COVID-19, you are asked not to attend your appointment and we can re-arrange the session online or by telephone. Please follow the NHS guidelines about what you need to do next.

If you live with, or have stayed overnight in the household of, someone who has COVID-19, this puts you at higher risk of having COVID-19. The advice is to work from home if you can and we can easily arrange your appointment online or by telephone to accommodate this.

There are high risk groups who are at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell from COVID-19 or other respiratory infections, and if this is you, it is worth considering this versus the benefits gained from meeting in person.

Face to face working is offered where clients feel safe enough regarding the risks to themselves and others. It may also be a consideration where:

  • Technology presents too much of an obstacle to working online
  • Emotional and mental distress is severe e.g. working with trauma or suicidal feelings
  • Privacy and a suitable environment in which to work therapeutically is difficult
  • Clients feel the benefits of working face to face outweigh continued online working

In preparation:

I have enough lateral flow tests to last until the week commencing the 6th June. Testing is no longer a requirement unless you are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, so please do let me know if that is the case. Until the 6th June, I will test myself the day before our appointment and get in touch if the test is positive to make alternative arrangements. Places are no longer required to display the NHS COVID-19 QR code posters or collect information about visitors and so I am no longer using the NHS COVID-19 app.

All face to face appointments are made with the caveat that we may need to move to an online appointment or cancel if either of us become infected. After the 6th of June, unless we arrange things differently, I will return to my usual cancellation policy

Please continue to bring your own tissues and drink as these will not be offered to you.

You will still need to wear a mask indoors in communal spaces at the Eco Offices so please bring one with you (this has been discussed and agreed by practitioners at the Eco Offices because there are people who are at higher risk who use the space).

On arrival:

There are parts of the route to my room where it is not possible to keep 2 metres distance. The waiting area is well ventilated which mitigates some risk. I will be wearing a face mask in communal spaces too. You will come in through the front door unless it is particularly busy and if this is the case and you feel uncomfortable coming in through this entrance, please call or text me so that I can direct you to the side door.

Please buzz room 4 when you arrive (or you can call or text me) and I will buzz you in (or come to meet you if you call or text). I will take you to our room and there will be hand gel available for you to use and there are also facilities for handwashing if hand gel cannot be used.

Through the session:

Our seats will be two metres apart.

Both windows will be open a crack to ensure the room is ventilated with cross flow. We will discuss opening the windows more fully and if we open the windows widely, this means that as people move past the windows, they may overhear parts of our conversation.

I am happy to also discuss continuing to wear our masks at the start of the session. Mask wearing is no longer required by law and it has previously been the case that Government guidance permits taking off face masks where facial expressions are used to communicate. If you choose to wear a mask during our session, lack of visibility of your face may make it more difficult to communicate.

Tissues are to be used when coughing or sneezing and placed in the foot bin before using hand gel or washing hands. Whilst toilets are still available for use during your visit, you are requested to clean surfaces before and after use. Paper towels and a hand dryer are provided.

After the session:

As we are no longer required to keep a record of people on the premises or to display the NHS COVID-19 QR code posters, we will not be contacting you to inform you if someone who visits is later found to have COVID-19. 

Notes

Please note that this guidance relates to working face to face in the Eco Offices. Additional guidance is provided about face to face outdoor therapy at https://jamiefearn.co.uk/outdoors.

If you have any questions or concerns about working face to face, please do let me know and we can work things out together.

The NHS Test and Trace contact tracing service has now closed.