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Response to COVID-19

 

In light of recent significant changes in the prevention plans for COVID-19, the staff of SLLS seeks to inform our patients and families the following...

 

We hold our patients' health and welfare as our top priority. Our local schools have challenged our patients and families with deciding to send their children to "in-person" school or remain in virtual learning. In addition, our "in-person" students risk forced 14 day quarantine periods should they be in contact with any identified person with COVID-19 positive test results while at school. This equates to minimal or reduced access to school-based therapy services which can result in regression of skills. Our medical speech therapy services are on the list of Essential Businesses. It is in our patients' best interest for our office to remain OPEN, so we can serve our patients and prevent skill regression while our students' access to school-based therapy services are impacted. 

 

Pre-COVID-19, the risk of exposure to any communicable diseases in our clinic was always extremely low. Although we have always supplied sanitizer and tissues in every room in our office, diligently cleaned and sanitized our offices and therapy materials before and after every patient in our office, and staff, as well as patients and caregivers, have always washed hands before every session, we have increase our layers of sanitizing and protections against the potential spread of communicable diseases. 

 

With the ever changing COVID-19 discoveries, recommendations from the CDC, and mandates from our governmental leaders, our policies and procedures have been modified to remain in compliance. In response to Judge Glen Whitley's orders for all Tarrant County businesses to update and post COVID-19 business policies, our office COVID-19 procedures are temporarily updated as follows until further direction is provided...

We are limiting access to our office to one parent/caregiver and the patient attending the therapy. Any additional siblings will need to remain in the vehicle with a parent. If there is only one parent available with siblings, we will allow the patient in the office while the parent and siblings remain in their vehicle. We take each family's situation on a case by case basis. If you are in need of in-person speech therapy services but have special circumstances which this policy would prevent you from being able to access services, we want you to contact us and let us know your circumstances. We will work together to safely accommodate access to our services. 

Please note: When arriving in our parking lot, call us at 682-400-8132 from your car. We will come to you to obtain temperature scans for the patient and parent/caregiver attending the session. We will give you our COVID-19 exposure screening form to complete while in your vehicle. Once the pre-screening is completed, our staff will notify you when our clinic is sanitized and prepared for you to enter. After checking in at the window, the first stop in our office is the bathroom sink for both the patient and parent/caregiver to wash hands. Any family members, who need to use the restroom while waiting, will need temperature and screening check prior to allowing entry into our clinic.

All patients over the age of 10 years and parents/caregivers must wear a face covering in our office. If you do not have one, we will provide you with one. If you have a medical condition which prevents the use of a face mask, we will provide you with a transparent face shield while you are in the office. During therapy, the patient will be allowed to remove their face covering as it is necessary to see their face to provide our service. A plexiglass transparent barrier will be utilized when possible to assure an additional layer of protection between the patient and therapy provider. Parents/caregivers face coverings or face shields must remain on and covering both nose and mouth while they are in the office.

 

We understand that our patients have special circumstances which may make this countywide mandate extremely difficult to implement; therefore, we will work individually with each patient and their family to manage within the mandated order and accommodate your needs however we are able. Our goal is to make your experience in our clinic as safe and comfortable as possible while providing exceptional therapy services. 

In addition to in-office therapy services, we offer Telehealth services (video appointments via FaceTime or Zoom with security measures and password protected sessions) as allowed by patient's insurance policy or patient desire to pay privately. We allow the patient, parent, or caregiver to determine which format they desire for their session. If you are new to our office, we recommend starting with an in-office session for our Speech Language Pathologist to obtain an accurate evaluation, establish a rapport, and determine if Telehealth services are plausible prior to transitioning to Telehealth services. 

Please be assured we are doing all that we can to provide a sanitary and safe environment for you and your family when you attend your evaluation or treatment session within our office. We screen all staff members daily for symptoms and exposure risks. Screenings are also administered with all contractors, who may need access to our office, prior to allowing entry into our clinic. We have added additional staff to assist with assuring our clinic is always diligently sanitized before and after ALL patients including frequently touched surfaces, toys, and equipment used during each session. We use air purifiers with UVC lights, which kills bacteria and viruses including COVID-19, inside each unit in every room. We provide disposable 3 layer face masks for those who do not have one or forgot theirs, as well as sanitized clear face shields to those who do not tolerate a face mask. Hand sanitizer and tissues are available in all rooms in our clinic. All staff members wear face masks properly over both nose and mouth while sanitizing and while patients, parents, and caregivers are in the office. Because our SLP may be within 6 feet for more than the CDC identified 15 minutes of contact, she uses multiple layers of protection as added defense against the potential spread of any disease, including a clear face shield in addition to a face mask, which may need to be lowered to allow for visual cues and oral movement or placement cues, as well as a wearable air purifier/ionizer around her neck, and a plexiglass barrier whenever possible. In addition to all of the above precautions, we adjusted our schedule to avoid potential contact between different family units during transitions between sessions.

Please Note: 

We ask our patients to call or text to cancel appointments if the patient or a family member has any of the symptoms or exposure potentials identified by the CDC. In this case, we gladly cancel the appointment without a cancellation fee.

We will apply the cancellation fee for cancelled appointments with less than 24 hours notice when symptoms are not present in the patient or a family member AND the patient does not have any identified exposure risk. As always, if there is an emergency that arises and you are unable to hold your appointment, we will attempt to provide you the opportunity to reschedule your appointment within the week in lieu of assessing this fee, as long as you have notified our office prior to your scheduled appointment and do not have a history of repeated last minute cancellations. 

 

 

If a patient, parent, or caregiver comes to the office with symptoms or posing a health risk to our office, we will cancel that appointment, collect the late cancellation fee, and guide the patient in next steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or any other communicable diseases according to the CDC's directions.

 

We are honored to provide you and your family members with your necessary, medical speech therapy services in our safe, sanitary, medical clinic. We look forward to serving you and your family at our office or within your own home via Telehealth therapy services.