In recent months, the world has been dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak, causing concern and anxiety among the general population. On the one hand, it carries with it the risk of death due to viral infection, and on the other hand, it brings significant psychological pressure. As a result of government measures, particularly quarantine, the daily lives and habits of individuals have been disrupted. Several recent studies have highlighted the impact of these changes on the mental health of individuals, causing, among other things, an increase in depressive symptoms, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Given the psychological difficulties faced by the population, mental health professionals are on the front line to offer psychotherapeutic care. The intervention of these professionals is indispensable, particularly with at-risk populations: the elderly, who are more often socially isolated, people suffering from a psychiatric disorder, as well as people suffering from depression, anxiety, and substance use. However, the threat of a second pandemic wave is real, which is why compliance with health and hygiene rules is crucial.
How to limit the risk of spreading to the practice
Because of the health situation and to meet government recommendations in terms of hygiene, mental health professionals receiving patients in their offices may follow various recommendations to limit the spread of Covid-19. The recommendations are as follows:
In the waiting room
- Allow access only to patients with an appointment.
- Display measures for barrier gestures in the waiting room.
- Arrange the chairs in the waiting room so that physical distance can be maintained.
- Inform patients not to arrive early for appointments to reduce the number of people present.
- Provide a hydroalcoholic gel or a washbasin with soap.
- Remove non-essential objects that could increase the risk of contamination (magazines, games, etc.).
In the practice
- Apply barrier measurements standing one meter away from patients.
- Encourage remote appointment scheduling.
- Wash hands regularly.
- Renew the air in the office between each consultation.
- Disinfect the practice rooms regularly.
- Suggest that the patient brings his/her equipment as much as possible (pens…).
Whenever possible, the use of teleconsultation should be favored to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. To do so, C2Care offers you the possibility to carry out your sessions and therapeutic care on the Psy.live platform. This simple to use and the innovative platform supports secure payments and gives you the possibility to send to your patients the tasks to be done at home. The use of this platform will allow you to continue the consultations taking into account the health conditions and promote the psychological well-being of your patients. This platform offers greater accessibility to patients while reducing travel difficulties and also allows professionals to carry out consultations with patients living abroad.
How to use TERVs hygienically while protecting your patientsGiven the impact of this pandemic on the mental health of the general population, it appears that Virtual Reality Exposure Therapies (VRETs) have a predominant role to play. First of all, because their effectiveness has been demonstrated in numerous scientific articles, particularly for treating anxiety disorders as well as substance abuse disorders. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the transmission of this disease would occur through respiratory droplets coming from the mouth or nose of individuals when they speak, cough, or sneeze. Also, inhaling or touching contaminated surfaces could lead to the contraction of the disease. It is recommended that healthcare professionals and patients wash their hands before and after using virtual reality devices and disinfect them. A solution exists to protect your patients while continuing to use virtual reality exposure. Indeed, in a concern of hygiene and safety, C2Care offers silicone masks to protect your patients. Just place it on the part of the helmet in contact with the patient’s face. The advantage of this silicone mask is that it is reusable after being carefully disinfected. Thanks to this innovative solution, VRETs can still be used by mental health professionals while respecting government measures to comply with hygiene rules and promote patient safety.
Torales, J., O’Higgins, M., Castaldelli-Maia, J. M., & Ventriglio, A. (2020). The outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus and its impact on global mental health. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 0020764020915212.
Armitage, R., & Nellums, L. B. (2020). COVID-19 and the consequences of isolating the elderly. The Lancet Public Health, 5(5), e256.
Druss, B. G. (2020). Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in populations with serious mental illness. JAMA psychiatry.