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COVID-19: Services Update

Due to the changing landscape around 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 22 APRIL 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 see patients for both face to face and telehealth appointments.

Bulk billed telehealth appointments are only available to patients who have had a face to face consultation at our clinic within the past 12 months. Patients that do not meet this Medicare criteria have the option to pay a private consultation fee for their telehealth appointment, however they cannot claim a Medicare rebate. Reception can provide details on these fees.

The clinic has capacity to send out e-script tokens via email and can also post or fax out prescriptions, pathology forms and certificates to patients and pharmacies if required.

During Covid-19 lockdown periods, The Centre Clinic will still see patients for clinically necessary face to face appointments. You may be contacted see if a telehealth appointment will meet your requirements. At times, our GPs may be required to work from home. If this occurs, patients will be offered face to face appointments with an alternative practitioner if a telehealth appointment will not be suitable. As lockdowns can happen suddenly and unexpectedly, we ask for your patience and understanding as we respond to the changing situation.

We ask that all clients with cold or flu symptoms to phone ahead BEFORE coming to their appointment - (03) 9525 5866

Community Support
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Staff support
Community Support staff are working from home, but phones are monitored Monday to Friday. Contact numbers are the same.

Most staff support, including client assessments, is done by phone.

Social support
All group social outings are suspended. Volunteers are providing social support by phone.

Home care
Help at home (home care, NDIS and aged care support) is continuing, provided clients do not have flu-like symptoms. Workers use personal protective equipment and ensure strict social distancing.

NDIS community participation
NDIS community participation shifts are going ahead but are restricted to short local outings and remote support by phone or Zoom meetings.

Medical transport
Most volunteer transport to medical appointments is suspended. Call the Support office on (03) 9863 0426 if you need help to get to an urgent appointment.

Peer support
Staff and volunteers provide HIV peer support by phone. Staff peer support in hospital clinics is suspended.

Housing
Housing support is provided by phone. 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 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 see patients for both face to face and telehealth appointments.

Bulk billed telehealth appointments are only available to patients who have had a face to face consultation at our clinic within the past 12 months. Patients that do not meet this Medicare criteria have the option to pay a private consultation fee for their telehealth appointment, however they cannot claim a Medicare rebate. Reception can provide details on these fees.

We continue to operate Nurse Practitioner clinics every Thursday morning to facilitate hormone injections, vaccinations and STI screens.

During Covid-19 lockdown periods, Equinox will still see patients for clinically necessary face to face appointments. You may be contacted see if a telehealth appointment will meet your requirements. At times, our GPs may be required to work from home. If this occurs, patients will be offered face to face appointments with an alternative practitioner if a telehealth appointment will not be suitable. As lockdowns can happen suddenly and unexpectedly, we ask for your patience and understanding as we respond to the changing situation.

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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The Positive Living Centre is open from 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday.

There are restrictions on the number of clients in the building at any one time (fifteen) and there will be a limit on the duration of the visit (2 hours) to ensure fairness in accessing the PLC for all. COVID-safe protocols are in place and internal and external space are arranged to ensure social distancing. Masks are not required while in the building.

We are gradually introducing services throughout 2021, as long as public health measures allow. It’s important to understand that many of these services will be offered in a different manner. During this time we will continue to adapt protocols and restrictions, so that a new COVID-Normal is established.

The following services are currently available:

  • Client Care and Support in person and over the phone
  • Pantry can be accessed in the form of packages, which will be pre-prepared. These will include packaged goods and some fruit and vegetables.
  • Nutritional services in the form of Lunch each Tuesday at 12.30pm. Please check our Facebook page closer to the date to see what the meal of the week will be. Numbers are very limited and therefore bookings are essential via reception on 03 9836 0444.
  • Exercise Program with the support and expertise of the Alfred Physiotherapy Department each Tuesday at 11.30am. Bookings are essential for the program.
  • Launch Housing consultations are available by contacting Reception.
  • Naturopath appointments are available every Thursday. Contact 03 9836 0444 for bookings.
  • Vitamart Products are available with an authority from your GP or Naturopath.
  • Haircuts are available with Chop Suey. Book your appointment at reception
  • NSP
  • Laundry
  • Breakfast cereals, tea and coffee
  • HALC (HIV Legal Service) offered in person or via phone or email.
  • The David Williams Fund (Financial Counselling and Emergency Relief) provided in person or over the phone or email.

PRONTO! Rapid HIV Testing
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PRONTO! Continues to provide Peer Testing services, including Rapid HIV tests and STI screening. The peer testing services will be temporarily suspended during any future Covid-19 lockdowns.

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

PrEP Access and STI Treatment Services

Our PrEP GP clinic continues to offer face to face and telehealth services. Bulk billed telehealth appointments are available and privately-billed telehealth services are available to non-eligible patients. To be eligible for bulk billed telehealth appointments, clients must have been seen face to face at the service within the past 12 months and have a current Medicare card.

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 this service, 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 58 Mundy Street in Bendigo is currently 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 Jan Dooley (Wednesday, 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 the 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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