Office policies around sickness for the client and the therapist at Waves
I’m sick, again. I feel like I just got over a cold and it’s true, about a week and a half ago, I had the stomach flu. This week it feels like a garden variety virus. Ick. Of course, with some stress and lack of sleep and a sprinkle of something I haven’t figured out yet (perhaps chance or something else?) my little virus often continues to make its way into a bigger virus that throws my system out of service for a while and with it, makes it harder to be a good therapist or any at all (as I often have to cancel clients), a good mom and sweetie (as the little tasks to care for loved ones often exhaust me fully when I am sick) and my usual jovial self ( as lack of sleep makes me have extra grumpy gus tendencies’), I feel like it is important for people to talk about being sick and what it means for therapy.
If a client is sick, I encourage said client to STAY HOME and do a video telemental health session with me. I have two options for this – 1) a phone session or 2) an encrypted video session using service from a trusted source (either Simple Practice, my electronic health record’s video service or one from Regroup).
I am not a medical doctor. Please don’t come see me when you are medically ill and contagious.
Please don’t come see me if you are a “little sick.” Your illness might seem little to you, but it usually doesn’t land on me as so little at all. And when I get sick, and before I even show symptoms, I can pass it along to other clients, my family and friends and continue infecting people with whom I interact. I don’t want to spread the sickness. I want to stop it at my door step or my chair step (is that even a thing?)
Please ask your medical doctor if you are able to get the flu shot and if you are, please get it. I get it every year and I do so for those who cannot get it. I enjoy working with people with chronic illnesses and so I do my best to protect myself and them by getting the flu shot. I would encourage you to do the same (if your medical doctor okays it). Please get immunized for whatever you can get immunized for. Next on my list once this cold is done is whooping cough. I can’t wait to not get that one. What about you? Is there an immunization that you are putting off getting? Please check in with your medical doctor about which ones they feel it is appropriate to get and please strongly consider them. While some people have reactions (aka please check with your medical doctor before getting any immunizations), many do not.
If I am sick, I will do stay as far away from you as I can in the room. I will have cough drops available and lots of teas and water at the ready. I might even bring in my humidifier. After all, my voice is one of my tools in therapy and when it goes, well, I’m missing a key way in which I communicate.
If I don’t feel that I am able to be fully present for you, I will contact you, or have Dr. Camilla Williams contact you, and let you know that I am sick and unable to make it in. While I try to give warning, these illnesses can come on suddenly so I encourage you to check your voicemail and email and, if you have it, your spruce app, so that you will know about my absence the minute I know.
For instance, about a week and a half ago, I was ready to jump out of bed and head over to the office. I couldn’t wait to go and be my therapist self. My wife had to stop me and talk some sense into me. “Abi,” she said, “you can’t go in.” I was adamant that I could go in and I was already to jump into my day, when she reminded me that I had been up all night and that almost no one would want to be in session with a puking therapist. Once I realized that she was right, I called the clients I could, emailed the rest, and put out word to Camilla for her help in following up with people. I fell back asleep and stayed in bed for the next few days.
Today I went into work feeling pretty alright. Tonight, I am feeling the repercussions of that decision. Tomorrow, I will rest and hopefully, I will be able to head back to work on Wednesday; I can’t wait!
If you are sick and cancel a session with me fewer than 24 hours before the session, rather than having a video or phone session, I will charge you for the session. My late cancel fee is the full cost of the session.
If you are having an emergency, please, goodness, go to the emergency room. Let me know (after you get there and when you can) and I won’t charge you. If you end up going to the ER frequently and having to cancel appointments, we will need to look at our plan on when we are meeting.
Any questions? I feel like so many of my colleagues and neighbors are sick right now, that I wanted to remind everyone of our office policies around illness and encourage you to take good care of yourself especially during the rainy season (but actually, always).
Below are some tips for ways to keep yourself healthy during this season. I’m going abto up my sleep if at all possible. Please check out this link for information from a very cool pediatrician/internal medicine doctor at https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/health/Latest--63721922.html What will you do to support your overall health and wellness?
The Mayo Clinic’s information on staying well and flu shots: https://www.mayoclinic.org/flu-shots/art-20048000
Warmly and with thanks for reading,
Dr. Abi Weissman