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COVID-19: Services Update

Due to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we have made changes to many of our services. We’re committed to providing essential services while also looking after the health and wellbeing of our clients, staff, volunteers, and the communities we serve.

LAST UPDATED 23 NOVEMBER 2020

COVID-19 RAINBOW CONNECTION

The Rainbow Connection program for LGBTI people affected by COVID-19 has ended. If you require support, please contact Switchboard’s Rainbow Door on 1800 729 367, text 0480 017 246 or email support@rainbowdoor.org.au.

Rainbow Door is a free specialist helpline providing information, support and referral to all LGBTIQA+ Victorians, their friends and family during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Rainbow Door operates from 10am to 6pm, seven days a week. It supports callers on a range of issues including housing, sexual assault, family violence, mental health, sexual health, legal issues and navigating aged care systems.

Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Services
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AOD Counselling
All counselling sessions will now be offered via telephone or Zoom (online video communication). Please note that after-hours/evening sessions will still be available.

AOD Care and Recovery Coordination
AOD Care and Recovery Coordination Workers will no longer be conducting outreach or in-person appointments. Care coordination will now occur via telephone or Zoom. Workers will still be able to assist clients in navigating and accessing AOD and human services over the coming months.

Therapeutic & Peer Support Groups

ReWired 2.0: Our peer – based Chemsex/PnP group ReWired 2.0 will continue to run every Tuesday evening via Zoom. Please contact the Services intake team to register and access the invite link.

A limited number of our therapeutic and peer support groups are being offered online at the moment. Head to our Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming groups.

Centre Clinic
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The Centre Clinic is continuing to operate.

All appointments are being booked as Telehealth appointments. If your GP or Nurse Practitioner deem it clinically necessary to see you, a subsequent face-to-face follow up appointment will be scheduled as soon as possible. The clinic can post or fax out prescriptions, pathology forms and certificates if required.

Telehealth appointments are bulk-billed for all Medicare Card holders. Privately-billed telehealth services are available to non-eligible patients. The clinic encourages all HIV positive and patients with chronic illnesses to avoid coming into the practice if their needs can be met by phone or online video appointments.

We ask that all clients with cold or flu symptoms to phone ahead BEFORE coming to their appointment.

Community Support
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Most community Support staff are working from home, but contact numbers are the same, including:

Social Support
All group social outings, including lunches, are suspended until 2021. Individual face-to-face support is available.

Home Care, NDIS and aged care
Home care, NDIS and aged care support is provided without restrictions on outings or shift times. Workers use personal protective equipment and ensure strict physical distancing.

Medical transport
As restrictions have eased, volunteer transport to medical appointments can now be booked. Safety precautions must be observed during all transport.

Peer support
Staff and volunteers provide most peer support by phone, but individual face-to-face meetings are also available. Staff peer support in hospital clinics is suspended.

Housing
Housing support is provided by phone and in person. If you are experiencing housing instability or homelessness, please call Housing Plus on (03) 9863 0425. Our Launch Housing worker provides phone support for clients with emergency housing needs.

Counselling
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We are now providing the option of Telehealth or telephone counselling. While the format of sessions has changed, all other aspects of our individual counselling service remains the same.

For existing clients - your counsellor will be in touch to discuss these new options and your preference of format.

For those who are interested in accessing our service - you can continue to contact our Intake team on (03) 9865 6700 (Monday-Friday 9AM-5PM) or email counselling@thorneharbour.org

Relationship Counselling:

Our relationship counselling service is temporarily closed.

For existing clients – you will be able to continue your remaining sessions with your counsellor.

For those who are interested in accessing relationship counselling – please contact Queerspace on 03 9663 6733 (https://www.queerspace.org.au) or Relationship Matters on 1300 543 396 (https://relationshipmatters.com.au) for more information on their relationship and family counselling services.

Therapeutic Groups
A limited number of our therapeutic and peer support groups are being offered online at the moment. Head to our Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming groups.

Equinox Trans and Gender Diverse Health Service
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Equinox is continuing to provide Medicare-billed GP services to existing patients with Medicare cards via telehealth appointments. Privately-billed telehealth services are available to non-eligible patients. Reception can provide information on request regarding private fees. We continue to operate Nurse Practitioner clinics every Thursday morning to facilitate hormone injections, vaccinations and STI screens.

We ask that any patient with cold and flu symptoms to please call the clinic BEFORE attending appointments.

Please follow our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/equinoxcentre/ for service updates and information.

Family Violence
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All counselling and case management appointments are conducted by telephone or Zoom online video communication. Outreach services are not available at this stage.

We will still be providing risk assessments, safety planning and referrals for clients where appropriate. After hours appointments will continue to be provided. Please get in contact via fvintake@thorneharbour.org or by calling 03 9865 6700 and ask for the Intake Team.

Flexible Support Packages
We are also accepting and processing Flexible Support Package applications from external agencies. Agencies should be aware that processing times may be impacted and we will do our very best to limit any delays. Please email us to request information or forms at flexi-packages@thorneharbour.org.

Revisioning
Revisioning is being delivered via Zoom. Each participant will continue to receive support from our facilitators on a weekly basis for check in and safety planning.

Intake assessments for new participants in Revisioning are also being offered. Contact revisioning@thorneharbour.org or contact our Intake Team on (03) 9865 6700.

Partner contact will also continue to support and maintain people’s safety.

Financial Services
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Making financial decisions can be challenging even at the best of times. Under the current circumstances this is especially challenging. Moneysmart.gov.au offers a ranges of advice on tackling financial issues during COVID-19. So whether your considering early acess to your super or just want some advice on getting on top of debt, check out their page about financial issues during COVID-19: https://moneysmart.gov.au/covid-19

For people living with HIV, the David Williams Fund is continuing to operate and is offering financial counselling & emergency relief over the phone or via email..

Positive Living Centre
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Face-to-face services at the Positive Living Centre are restricted until further notice. While the site is closed during Stage Four Restrictions, limited services will be offered via phone, email or other online options. The contact phone number for support is (03) 9863 0444.

The following services are currently available:

  • Client Care and Support via phone or email. From 23rd November, clients will be able to organise a face-to- face meeting with a Client Care and Support worker at the Centre. This consultation will be conducted in a COVID-safe manner. Please telephone (03) 9863 0444 or email plcfeedback@thorneharbour.org. Client Care Staff will respond to all incoming calls and enquiries in a timely manner.
  • HALC (HIV Legal Service) offered via phone or email.
  • The David Williams Fund (Financial Counselling and Emergency Relief) provided over the phone or email.
  • Nutritional Support Services will continue to be an important service. Pantry can be accessed in the form of packages, which will be pre-prepared. These will include packaged goods and some fruit and vegetables. No cold or frozen items will be available. Contact the service on (03) 9863 0444 in order to prearrange a pickup of a prepared Pantry at a predetermined location at the Centre. Social distancing protocols will be in place for pickup.

Please note that Vitamart will be suspended during Stage Four restrictions.

All other PLC services will be temporarily suspended.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted people in varying ways and it is understandable that during times like this, people may be feeling afraid, worried, anxious, and overwhelmed by the constantly changing alerts and media coverage regarding the spread of the virus. We appreciate that the measures we are taking at the PLC may cause some distress or anxiety amongst those who use the services. These actions are only taken in the spirit of ensuring the health and wellbeing of everyone, especially those who are more vulnerable. We thank all of you for your patience and understanding at this time. If the current situation causes you any concerns or stress we encourage you to talk confidentially to our client care staff over the phone. Contact the Positive Living Centre on (03) 9863 0444

PRONTO! Rapid HIV Testing
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In response to the recent coronavirus lockdown, PRONTO! has temporarily paused routine asymptomatic Peer HIV/STI testing services until the end of lockdown.

PrEP Access and STI Treatment Services

Our PrEP GP clinic continues to operate on site and via telehealth on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Bulk billed Telehealth appointments are available and privately-billed telehealth services are available to non-eligible patients. Face-to-face appointments are available for clients that are symptomatic and require STI testing and treatment. To book in for STI treatment, select 'PrEP Dr' on our online booking system or call reception on (03) 9416 2889

Our bulk billed PrEP Nurse Practitioner (NP) clinic operates most Saturdays.. Privately-billed services are available to non-eligible patients. Telehealth and face to face appointments can be booked for clients that are symptomatic and require STI testing and treatment. To book, please call reception on (03) 9416 2889. This service cannot be booked on line.

All clients with cold or flu symptoms must delay testing until all symptoms have cleared.

We encourage all clients to follow our Facebook page for updates on service changes.

Therapeutic Groups & Peer Support
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ReWired 2.0: Our peer – based Chemsex/PnP group ReWired 2.0 will continue to run every Tuesday evening via Zoom. Please contact the Services intake team to register and access the invite link.

Revisioning is being delivered via Zoom on Tuesday evenings in order to provide content to the participants. There is ongoing phone support for participants who may not have technology to access via Zoom with the facilitators for check-in and safety planning.

A limited number of our other therapeutic and peer support groups are being offered online at the moment. Head to our Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming groups.

We will be operating a phone-based check-in services for people who are currently enrolled in our groups. People enrolled in any of our groups will hear from us shortly to discuss this alternative service.

Thorne Harbour Country
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The office at 56-60 King Street in Bendigo has been closed to clients.

If you need information or support this will need to be given over the phone or online via video, please call us on 03 4400 9000.

Counselling will now be delivered over the phone or via Zoom/Skype only. Counselling services can still be accessed by calling us on 03 4400 9000 and asking for Maria (Thursday and Friday).

Events have now been cancelled until further notice.

Any health promotion activity with community can be arranged by calling the Program Coordinator Claudia Validum on above numbers.

Training and Capacity Building
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All face-to-face Training and Capacity Building activities have been postponed or moved to Zoom or similar online video platforms.

The Training and Capacity Building team are available to discuss any details necessary to reschedule any upcoming or booked face-to-face trainings. These can be rescheduled for later in the year or potentially modified for online training delivery.

We are still taking bookings and enquiries. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch via email education@thorneharbour.org

We will continue to update this page as services are modified. If you have a question about any of our services or programs not listed above, please contact us via email.

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