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How We Plan to Support You During Covid-19

How We Plan to Support You During Covid-19

31 March 2020

Remember when I said that we had big things coming this year? This was not what I meant.

 

If you read my last blog, you will recall that I outlined a list of changes happening within our practice to manage Covid-19. Since my last blog, things have changed again considerably, so I thought it might be a good idea to share another update with you all.

 

As of Monday 30th March, most of our services are now operating via telehealth. The recent government announcements have allowed us to provide this service across all of our disciplines, including GPs, Psychologists, Speech Pathologists and Dietitians. Our decision to move to complete telehealth services was not taken lightly. We would much rather be seeing your smiling faces in person, however at the moment, telehealth is the safest option to ensure the wellbeing of all of our clients and staff.

 

We appreciate that participating in a telehealth session is a little confusing and overwhelming. Please believe me when I say we feel the same! As I mentioned, we would much rather see you in person. We really appreciate your patience and support in giving telehealth a try, and working with us on creative ways that we can support you. We feel that now more than ever, people need to take care of their physical and mental health, so we want to continue to support you with this whatever way we can.

 

Our preference is for a video session with you. This allows us to still see your face, which is so much nicer while we are physically distancing. For our GPs, it will also assist them in performing some of their normal examinations, just a little more virtually. To conduct a video session, all you will need is your phone, iPad, or PC. You will receive a link from us. If you click the link and follow some brief prompts, you will enter our virtual "waiting room". The provider can see that you are waiting for them, just like they would in our real waiting rooms. Once they are ready for you, they will start the call. The links for our telehealth sessions are coming out in your reminder texts, however I have also included them below for easy reference.

 

Macquarie Health Collective

https://vcc.healthdirect.org.au/t/macquariehealthcollective/join

 

Macquarie Valley Family Practice

https://vcc.healthdirect.org.au/t/macquarievalleyfamilypractice/join

 

If you do not have the internet, and you need to have a telephone call instead, we can arrange this. If the provider feels they need to be able to see you, they will then discuss these details with you.

 

At the moment, many of these consultations will be bulk billed. Some of our providers are also offering reduced rates for other sessions. We understand that many people are currently financially strained, and we want to do what we can to reduce these barriers so that you can continue to access the healthcare that you need. The providers will be releasing more details specific to their individual sessions over the coming days. If you have any questions, you can always contact our receptionists on 6882 7113, or 6884 3355.

 

We will continue to brainstorm novel ways to support you. If you have any ideas for something you would like from us, please reach out. In the meantime, expect to see some unexpected things from our team the next little while. Stay tuned on our social media for more..

 

Take care,

 

x Tanya

2020.. Is There a Reset Button?

2020.. Is There a Reset Button?

25 March 2020

What a day! What a week! What a year! 2020 is really something isn’t it?

 

I am not sure about you, but over the last week or two, there haven’t been many conversations in my life that haven’t related to Covid-19. Never have we faced a situation quite like this before. It all feels quite surreal!

 

Over the past week, I have reflected a lot on how to keep my team, my clients, and my family safe. At a time of so much chaos and confusion, I figure one of the best ways I can support you, our valued clients, is to give you information.

 

One of the main messages I want to stress, is that our practices remain OPEN. Health services are essential services, and we are so aware that right now you need our support more than ever. We will continue to evolve and to be creative in finding ways to continue to support your needs, but we are definitely open and ready to support you.

 

You will have all heard the importance of social distancing and hand washing, so I am sure I don’t need to tell you about that again. Below I have, however, highlighted a few of the additional steps we have taken within our practice to ensure we can keep you safe.

  1. We ask that if you have fever or flu-like symptoms, that you reschedule your appointment. We do also have telehealth consultations available, and this option can be discussed with reception so that you do not have to miss out on your consultation.
  2. If you have concerns about attending the practice as you are considered to be a “vulnerable person” (i.e., you have a baby under 12 months, are aged over 70yrs, are pregnant, have a chronic health condition, or have a respiratory condition), please contact our reception to discuss the options available to you. We want to do our best to ensure you do not have to cancel your appointment and miss out on the support you need, so please reach out.
  3. We have increased our sterilisation processes across the practice. This will mean that you are going to witness our staff engaging in frequent cleaning processes. You will also notice lots of hand sanitiser within our clinic (please use it!) While it may sometimes appear overwhelming, we thank you for your understanding while we do everything we can to keep you and your family safe.
  4. You will notice a barrier at our reception counter. Our receptionists are pretty special to us, so we want to make sure we maintain their social distance too. We are aware that this is a little confronting, and can make interactions at the counter a little more challenging, but we really appreciate your patience with this.

 

More than ever, it is a time for us to band together (creatively, from a distance) and support each other. We have made a pledge at the Collective to support local, and to brainstorm ways that we can do our part to support other local small businesses during this challenging time. More of that to come (stay tuned on our social media – we hope you will join us in our quest!)

 

We also plan to spread a little #covidkindness. If the world needs anything right now (other than hand sanitiser), it is surely this. Let’s smile and say hello to the strangers we pass at 1.5m. Let’s pay it forward, however we can. Let’s share those toilet paper stocks so many people must have hiding..

 

We know this is a scary uncertain time. We hope we can continue to support you throughout this challenge, however that may look. Just remember, we are only a phone call away..

 

x Tanya

 

Supporting Children During Covid-19

Supporting Children During Covid-19

20 March 2020

With all of the talk about the Coronavirus at the moment, our stress levels as a community are high. You cannot turn on the TV or radio without hearing the latest headlines about Coronavirus.

Our kids are not immune to this. They may hear stories on the news, or from their friends at school. This can be scary and confusing for them.

As adults, it can be hard to know how to keep our children feeling safe when there’s danger around them. We can’t just pretend it’s not happening, but what can we do or say that will actually help?

There are a lot of great resources around. It is important that these come from reputable sites, as there is also a lot of misinformation around. Be careful what you choose!

We have listed a few ideas below that we hope might be helpful:

  • Ask open questions and listen
    • Invite your child to talk about the issue. Find out how much they already know, and follow their lead. If they are particularly young and haven’t already heard about the outbreak, you may not need to raise the issue – just take the chance to remind them about good hygiene practices without introducing new fears. Make sure you are in a safe environment and allow your child to talk freely. Drawing, stories and other activities may help to open up a discussion. Most importantly, don’t minimize or avoid their concerns. Be sure to acknowledge their feelings and assure them that it’s natural to feel scared about these things. Demonstrate that you’re listening by giving them your full attention, and make sure they understand that they can talk to you and their teachers whenever they like
  • Be honest, and explain the truth in a child friendly way
    • Children have a right to truthful information about what’s going on in the world, but adults also have a responsibility to keep them safe from distress. Use age-appropriate language, watch their reactions, and be sensitive to their level of anxiety.
  • Show them how to protect themselves and their friends
    • One of the best ways to keep children safe from coronavirus and other diseases is to simply encourage regular handwashing. It doesn't need to be a scary conversation. Sing along with The Wiggles or make up a dance to make learning fun. You can also show children how to cover a cough or a sneeze with their elbow, explain that it’s best not to get too close to people who have those symptoms, and ask them to tell you if they start to feel like they have a fever, cough or are having difficulty breathing.
  • Offer reassurance
    • When we’re seeing lots of troubling images on TV or online, it can sometimes feel like the crisis is all around us. Children may not distinguish between images on screen and their own personal reality, and they may believe they’re in imminent danger. You can help your children cope with the stress by making opportunities for them to play and relax, when possible. Keep regular routines and schedules as much as possible, especially before they go to sleep, or help create new ones in a new environment.
    • If you are experiencing an outbreak in your area, remind your children that they are not likely to catch the disease, that most people who do have coronavirus don’t get very sick, and that lots of adults are working hard to keep your family safe. If your child does feel unwell, explain that they have to stay at home/at the hospital because it is safer for them and their friends. Reassure them that you know it is hard (maybe scary or even boring) at times, but that following the rules will help keep everyone safe.
  • Look after yourself
    • You’ll be able to help your kids better if you’re coping, too. Children will pick up on your own response to the news, so it helps them to know you’re calm and in control. If you’re feeling anxious or upset, take time for yourself and reach out to other family, friends and trusted people in your community. Make some time to do things that help you relax and recuperate.
  • Finish the conversation with care
    • It’s important to know that we’re not leaving children in a state of distress. As your conversation wraps up, try to gauge their level of anxiety by watching their body language, considering whether they’re using their usual tone of voice and watching their breathing.
    • Remind your children that they can have other difficult conversations with you at any time. Remind them that you care, you’re listening and that you’re available whenever they’re feeling worried.
  • Remember to make sure kids have the time to do the things they find fun. Here are some ideas for fun activities that may help kids with their worried feelings.
    • Turn off the news
    • Do some exercise like go for a walk or a bike ride
    • Do some mindfulness (you could use the smiling mind app)
    • Write in your journal
    • Clean your room
    • Listen to music
    • Listen to a podcast
    • Read a book
    • Watch a fun movie with the family
    • Play a board game
    • If you are worried, talk to someone about how you are feeling.

 

Credit: Unicef.

 

 

Covid-19 - Our Message to You

Covid-19 - Our Message to You

16 March 2020

To all of our valued clients,

We appreciate the growing concern and uneasiness that some of you may be feeling towards the COVID-19 outbreak. If you were worried about whether your care can continue with us through this period, please rest assured we are still open and ready to look after you.

Overall, we are taking this situation seriously and have been regularly discussing possible plans of action. We think a calm and proactive approach is the best way to manage Covid-19.

We know many of you are concerned about your immune system and the medications that you are on. At the same time, many of you also rely on the services we provide to help you do the things you need to do. We take this seriously and hence, are taking steps to make sure our clinics remain as safe as possible to give you the confidence that you can continue coming in to receive the treatment and advice necessary to allow you to live and feel better.

To protect you and our team, we are implementing the following plan. Things may of course change, but at this stage, based on the current guidelines available to us, we believe this is the best approach.

  1. We have implemented an action plan to make our clinics as safe as possible.
  2. Hand hygiene and cleaning practices will continue to be emphasised to reduce the spread of any infections. Beware of the following prior to and whilst you are in our clinics:
    • Maintain hand hygiene by cleaning your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol based hand rub
    • Keep your hands clean:
      • Before entering an area used by other people
      • After using the bathroom
      • After coughing or sneezing
      • After eating food
    • Practice good cough/sneeze etiquette by keeping away from other people, using disposable tissues or clothing (eg. into your elbow), disposing of the tissues and cleaning your hands afterwards
  3. As per normal practice, patients or team members who are unwell are urged to stay home.
  4. We have placed more hand sanitisers around our clinics for all to use.
  5. Please call us to reschedule your appointment if you have travelled overseas recently, or if you have had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 while infectious, as you must self-isolate at home for 14 days. This will help to reduce the risk of infection for our patients, particularly those who have compromised immune systems, children, the elderly, and pregnant women.
  6. If you develop respiratory symptoms or fever, and have travelled recently or has contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, please present to Dubbo Base Hospital.

If you are unsure about what to do or have any concerns, please contact one of our receptionist, who will be happy to provide you with further information. We look forward to continuing to provide you care.

Back to School

Back to School

21 February 2020

This month the MHC family are focusing on going back-to-school and all that it entails from school lunches to separation anxiety. In this blog I would like to discuss what parents need to look out for in regard to their child’s mental health and how they can help to build resilience in their child and/or children.

Beyond Blue state that it can take weeks for children to adjust to their new class, make friends and get to know their teachers. Children starting a new school can also feel a sense of loss at having to leave their familiar environment behind. If you notice changes in your child’s behaviour lasting beyond the first couple of weeks, speak to school staff about your concerns.

The Beyond Blue online child mental health check list aims to measure a broad range of social, emotional or behavioural difficulties your child may be experiencing. These questions relate to how your child has been thinking, feeling and behaving in general. Tick the box next to each question that best describes your child. The higher the score, the more likely your child is experiencing a problem that would benefit from professional support. Follow the link below:

https://healthyfamilies.beyondblue.org.au/age-6-12/mental-health-conditions-in-children/child-mental-health-checklist

Based on your score Beyond Blue will provide you with some guidance in seeking further support. Regardless of the child mental health check list results, if you are worried about your child’s mental health at any point, you should speak with a health professional. Your treating General Practitioner is always a good place to start.

What does building resilience mean? It is a child’s ability to cope with ups and downs, and bounce back from the challenges they experience during childhood such as moving home, changing schools, studying for an exam or dealing with the death of a loved one. Building resilience helps children deal with current difficulties that are part of everyday life, but also to develop the basic skills and habits that will help them deal with challenges later in life, during adolescence and adulthood.

Resilience is important for children’s mental health. Children with greater resilience are better able to manage stress, which is a common response to difficult events. Stress is a risk factor for mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, if the level of stress is severe or ongoing. Below is a link to building resilience in children aged 0 to 12 years of age.

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/who-does-it-affect/children/building-resilience-in-children-aged-0-12

Resilience is shaped partly by the individual characteristics we are born with (our genes, temperament and personality) and partly by the environment we grow up in — our family, community and the broader society. While there are some things we cannot change, such as our biological makeup, there are many things we can change. 

One way of explaining the concept of resilience is to imagine a plane encountering turbulence mid-flight. The turbulence, or poor weather, represents adversity. Different planes will respond to poor weather conditions in different ways, in the same way different children respond to the same adversity in different ways. 

The ability of the plane to get through the poor weather and reach its destination depends on:

  • the pilot (the child)
  • the co-pilot (the child’s family, friends, teachers and health professionals)
  • the type of plane (the child’s individual characteristics such as age and temperament)
  • the equipment available to the pilot, co-pilots and ground crew
  • the severity and duration of the poor weather.

We can all help children become more resilient and the good news is, you do not have to do it alone.

You can ask other adults such as carers and grandparents to help. Building children’s resilience is everyone’s business, and it is never to early or too late to get started. There are some simple things you can do in your own home.

 

The latest research found that there are five areas that offer the best chance for building resilience in children.

As a parent, carer, or significant adult, you can help to develop essential skills, habits and attitudes for building resilience at home by helping your child to:

 

It is important to remember that the recommended strategies:

  • are suitable for everyday use with children aged 0–12 years
  • have been tailored for pre-school aged children (1–5 years) and
    primary school aged children (6–12 years)
  • should be prioritised in a way that best meets your child’s needs.

If your child is currently experiencing stress, challenges or hardships in life which are affecting their wellbeing, additional professional support may be necessary.

 

Visit Beyond Blue for more online information and support.

 

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