COVID-19 (Coronavirus) updates

Last updated: 26th September 2021

Face-to-face appointments

The Apple Tree Centre is now offering both online and face to face appointments in line with our covid risk reduction procedures (see below).  Due to the risks to our clients and staff, the difficulty of socially distancing within our centre, and the importance of continuity and reliability in our work, The Apple Tree Centre is offering a limited number of face to face appointments, and we will continue to offer online therapy for the foreseeable future.

We will tell the families we are working with as soon as we are able to offer them face-to-face appointments. In order to maintain physical distancing and adequate cleaning protocols, this will happen gradually and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account both the risk and the benefit of meeting face to face for therapy.

We have a significant waiting list for face-to-face appointments so please be aware that it may be some time before we are able to offer face-to-face therapy to new referrals. 

We have the following risk-reduction measures in place for face-to-face appointments, and we are continually monitoring the situation in the light of government guidelines and public health information.

Covid Risk Reduction

If you or your child have ANY cold or flu like symptoms, we ask you not to come into the centre unless you have had a negative PCR test. Our usual cancellation period still applies and we will continue to offer online appointments as an alternative.

If a member of your household tests positive for Covid, we ask that you do not come to the centre until their isolation period is over, regardless of your vaccination status.

The official guidance doesn’t currently include the most common symptoms of the delta variant, which presents very much like a common cold. More information can be found here: https://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/delta-variant-symptoms

Lateral Flow (LFD) home tests can be picked up for free from any pharmacy. However, these are only designed to detect Covid in people who are asymptomatic. Anyone with symptoms should instead take a PCR test.

If you have any questions about this, please do email us. We want to keep our therapists and our clients as safe as we can, and to make sure that we are able to continue to provide a reliable and consistent service, so we hope that you understand the reasons behind our decisions.

Parents and carers will not routinely have use of our waiting room while children/young people are in their therapy sessions.  We ask parents to drop off and pick up on time, stay local and have their mobile phone with them in case we need to contact them. You are more than welcome to sit in our garden if the weather permits.
 
Windows will be open in all rooms wherever possible and there will be 25 minutes gap in between sessions.
 
We will ask everyone to use hand sanitiser or to wash their hands with soap and water at the beginning and end of sessions. 
 
We will undertake regular cleaning of high touch areas around the building and, where possible, therapists will sanitise therapy equipment and seating in the therapy rooms in-between sessions. 
 
We ask all therapists, parents, and young people over 11 years of age to wear face coverings when moving around the building if they are able to.  Face coverings do not need to be worn in therapy rooms unless the person having the therapy requests. 
 
All therapists will have confirmed a negative rapid lateral flow test on the day of their appointments before coming into the Centre.
 
Each therapist will work in the same room for the whole day and client appointments will be staggered between therapists to avoid crossover arrival and departure times
 
Clients are asked to bring their own drink bottles as we are not able to provide hot or cold drinks at this time. Individually wrapped biscuits are available.
 
If an Apple Tree Centre therapist, staff member or client tests positive after having been in the building, we may need to pass your details on to the NHS contact tracing service.
On-line and Telephone Therapy Appointments

Wherever possible and therapeutically appropriate we are offering on-line sessions or telephone calls to children, young people and parents.

There are a lot of considerations in relation to offering online counselling and therapy, and this will involve some changes to our usual ways of working.  If you decide to use this service, you will be agreeing to some changes to our confidentiality arrangements:

  • We will use a video-conferencing service to provide the link. We are recommending ‘Zoom’, a service which is used by a lot of therapists, because it doesn’t require you to create an account – we send you a link to a secure and private ‘meeting’ and you can join us online. Zoom communications are established using 256-bit TLS encryption and all shared content is encrypted.
  • Your therapist will use their own computer and may be in their own home. We ask therapists to ensure that their computers are encrypted and free from viruses, and that they are able to call you from a private room where your meeting cannot be overheard. If this is not possible, we will provide an alternative venue for them to use for your session.
  • You might also be in your own home, and will need to think about whether it’s possible for you to have as much privacy as you need for your appointment.
  • We have written a protocol for remote appointments with children and young people, and will ensure that all parents have a copy of this and are aware of the necessary arrangements before any online appointments are conducted.  We will also require you to complete and return a ‘Consent to Remote Working’ form.
  • All information about you will be stored digitally in password protected, cloud-based storage. See our Confidentiality and Record Keeping Policy for more details.
  • Your therapist will need to access your contact details from their home in order to set up the appointment.