For several months, the entire world has been facing the Covid-19 epidemic, causing concern and anxiety among the general population. This has resulted in not only the risk of death due to the viral infection but also significant psychological pressure. Following government measures, particularly quarantine, individuals’ daily lives and habits have been disrupted. Several recent studies have highlighted the impact of these changes on individuals’ mental health, causing an increase in depressive and anxious symptoms and substance use disorders, among other issues. Given the psychological difficulties the population is facing, mental health professionals are at the forefront to provide psychotherapeutic care. The intervention of these professionals is especially crucial for at-risk populations: the elderly, who are often more socially isolated, those with psychiatric disorders, and those suffering from depression, anxiety, and substance use. However, the threat of a second pandemic wave is real, which is why adherence to health and hygiene rules is crucial.

HOW TO LIMIT THE RISK OF SPREADING IN THE OFFICE

Given the health situation and to meet government hygiene recommendations, mental health professionals receiving patients in their office can follow different 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 the measures related to barrier gestures in the waiting room.
  • Arrange chairs in the waiting room to respect physical distancing.
  • Inform patients not to arrive early for appointments to reduce the number of people present.
  • Provide hand sanitizer or a sink with soap.
  • Remove non-essential objects that could increase the risk of contamination (magazines, games, etc.).

IN THE OFFICE

  • Apply barrier measures by keeping a meter distance from patients.
  • Encourage remote appointment scheduling.
  • Wash hands regularly.
  • Ventilate the office between each consultation.
  • Regularly disinfect the office.
  • Suggest patients bring their own materials as much as possible (pens, etc.).

As much as possible, teleconsultation should be prioritized to reduce the risk of virus spread. To this end, C2Care offers the possibility to conduct your sessions and therapeutic care on the Psy.live platform. This simple and innovative platform supports secure payments and allows you to send tasks to be done at home to your patients. Using this platform will allow you to continue consultations given the health conditions and promote the psychological well-being of your patients. This platform offers greater accessibility to patients while reducing travel-related difficulties and also allows professionals to conduct consultations with patients residing abroad.

HOW TO USE VRET WHILE RESPECTING HYGIENE RULES AND PROTECTING PATIENTS

In light of the impact of this pandemic on the mental health of the general population, it appears that Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) has a predominant role to play. Firstly, because its effectiveness has been demonstrated in numerous scientific articles, especially for treating anxiety disorders and substance use disorders. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the transmission of this disease occurs through respiratory droplets from the mouth or nose of individuals when they talk, cough, or sneeze. Moreover, inhaling or touching surfaces that have been contaminated can lead to contracting the disease.

It is recommended that healthcare professionals and patients wash their hands before and after using virtual reality equipment and disinfect it. A solution exists to protect your patients while continuing to use virtual reality exposure. Indeed, for hygiene and safety reasons, C2Care offers silicone masks to protect your patients. Simply place it on the part of the headset in contact with the patient’s face. The advantage of this silicone mask is that it can be reused after being carefully disinfected. Thanks to this innovative solution, VRET can still be used by mental health professionals while adhering to government measures to maintain hygiene rules and ensure patient safety.

Sources:

OMS

https://www.who.int/fr/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/q-a-coronaviruses

 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.

http://pu.edu.pk/MHH-COVID-19/Articles/Article46.pdf

Armitage, R., & Nellums, L. B. (2020). COVID-19 and the consequences of isolating the elderly. The Lancet Public Health, 5(5), e256.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(20)30061-X/fulltext?rss=yes&utm_campaign=update-lanpub&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=85039243&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–YDWFiXJ-HT78LxM8HBygn-LTrCpKYUjrY-dRgBFVO9m0rVQfPsUErqhv1snuKoLXwFoqHB7EQrWaj2v6edSe2BKt_YA&_hsmi=85039243

Druss, B. G. (2020). Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in populations with serious mental illness. JAMA psychiatry.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2764227

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