KOWHEORI-19

COVID-19

Te Poari o ngā Kaihaumanu Hinengaro o Aotearoa (the Board) thanks all psychotherapists for the essential services they are providing to help Aotearoa New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Psychotherapists have and continue to manage the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic while supporting the well-being of their clients. 

 Auckland, Waikato and Northland are currently at Alert Level 3 –Eliminate.  

Auckland and parts of Waikato remain at COVID-19 alert level 3.

Northland will move to alert level 2 at 11:59pm Tuesday,  19 October 2021.

The rest of Aotearoa New Zealand is at Alert Level 2 - Reduce. 

Alert Level 1 – Prepare

 

The disease is contained in Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • stay home if you’re sick

  • report flu-like symptoms

  • wash and dry hands, cough into elbow, don’t touch your face

  • no restrictions on domestic transport – avoid public transport or travel if sick

  • no restrictions on workplaces or services but they are encouraged to maintain records to enable contact tracing

  • QR codes issued by the NZ Government must be displayed in workplaces and on public transport to enable use of the NZ COVID Tracer App for contact tracing

  • Follow Government advice for face masks and Alert Level 1.

Alert Level 2 – Reduce

The disease is contained, but the risk of community transmission remains.

What does this mean for psychotherapists?

Alert Level 2 focuses on being vigilant with physical distancing, contact tracing and maintaining hygiene standards.

This means virtual, non-contact consultations are preferred. Please exercise extra caution when treating vulnerable groups. However, businesses can open if they are able to do so safely.

This means that psychotherapists will be able to meet with clients kanohi ki te kanohi. Any kanohi-ki-te-kanohi/face to face appointments require psychotherapists to ensure they have in place:

Follow Government advice about face masks and Alert Level 2.

Clarification: The Ministry of Health has advised that any location where work is performed by a psychotherapist is considered a 'healthcare facility'; this includes private practice rooms. As such, all health practitioners must wear a mask in Level 2.  Additionally, clients must also wear masks when visiting healthcare facilities however, are not required to wear a face covering if they have 'a physical or mental health illness or condition or disability that makes wearing a face covering unsuitable’.

Exemptions from wearing face coverings include: 

(a)there is an emergency; or

(b)wearing a face covering is not safe in all of the circumstances; or

(c)the person is communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing and visibility of the mouth is essential for communication; or

d)the person is asked to remove the face covering to ascertain identity; or

(e)removal of, or not wearing, the face covering is otherwise required or authorised by law; or

(f)the person is under the age of 12 years; or

(g)the person has a physical or mental illness or condition or disability that makes wearing a face covering unsuitable; or

(h)the person needs to remove the face covering to take medicine; or

(i)the person needs to remove the face covering to eat or drink.

“In response to the Government, the Ministry of Health has set out to provide guidance to support the health providers to deliver their services. This guidance is based on up-to-date scientific evidence and is termed as ‘recommendations’ for actions that ‘should’ be undertaken to:

  • Protect others
  • Protect ourselves 
  • Reduce transmission
  • Ensure consumer health and wellbeing.

This guidance is given regardless of the setting / environment or context.

For private practitioners the Ministry recommends the wearing of masks. However, it is up to the individual practitioners in their individual settings and context to decide whether to wear masks. We acknowledge where practitioners are employed by DHBs they will be required to align to the DHB response framework and guidance on mask wearing.”

Alert Level 3 – Restrict

High risk the disease is not contained.

Alert Level 3 focuses on limiting contact between people. What does this mean for psychotherapists?

This means psychotherapists will use virtual, non-contact consultations where possible. 

Care for community allied health professionals has been defined as:

  • treatment that cannot be delayed or carried out remotely without risk of significant harm or permanent and/or significant disability; or

  • where failure to access services will lead to an acute deterioration of a known condition; or

  • where delay in access to services will impact the consumer’s ability to maintain functional independence and significantly negatively impact quality of life; 

  • Kanohi-ki-te-kanohi decision tree

COVID-19 guidance for community allied health, scientific and technical providers in alert level 3.  Guidance flowchart for allied health practitioners in non-DHB settings. 

 

Alert Level4 - Eliminate

It is likely COVID-19 is not contained.

Alert Level 4 focuses on limiting contact between people. What does this mean for psychotherapists?

This means psychotherapists will use virtual, non-contact consultations where possible.

Kanohi-ki-te-kanohi/face to face mahi/work is for urgent care only.

Urgent care for community allied health professionals has been defined as:

  • a condition that is life or limb threatening or

  • treatment that is required to maintain the basic necessities of life or

  • treatment that cannot be delayed or carried out remotely without risk of significant harm or permanent and/or significant disability; and

  • treatment that cannot be delivered by a service that is currently operating or by health professionals that are already in contact with the patient.

Follow Government advice for face masks and Alert Level 4.

Board employees are working from home and are contactable by phone and email.   Please notethat during level 4 lockdown, we are unable to receive mail. If you can, please forward your documents electronically to [email protected]

Contract tracing reminder 

Contact tracing is a critical tool.

All health practitioners engaging in kanohi-ki-te-kanohi mahi (following careful decision-making processes) are required to keep clear records for the purposes of contact tracing. In addition to good contact tracing, continue to practise good infection prevention/control procedures and use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Unique QR codes to assist tracing

The Ministry of Health is encouraging use of the COVID-19 Tracer app to record movements. Health practitioners including psychotherapists are required by the Ministry of Health to create a unique QR code for their business. .

Āwhina app

The Āwhina app provides updates and resources for healthcare providers.

Telehealth guidance

Keeping well

Looking after your mental wellbeing

The Getting ThroughTogether Campaign – developed by All Right? in conjunction with Canterbury DHB and the Mental Health Foundation this site has tips and advice on ways to get through, stay connected, and support everyone’s wellbeing.

Self-care and support for NZers during COVID-19 – An online community with psychosocial resources, peer support and self-care tools to help NZ’ers struggling with anxiety or loneliness during lock down and beyond. It is intended to  alleviate some of the burden on primary care by enabling providers to easily refer patients to something that is endorsed by the MOH and where patients are supported by a team of support workers (health coaches, community managers and counsellors) in a moderated online community.