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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 6 AUGUST 2021

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 is done by phone. Assessment of new clients can include a home visit.

Social support
Group social outings are suspended. Volunteers are providing social support by phone and practical help such as transport for shopping

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
Volunteer transport is available for clients who have urgent medical appointments.

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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General Counselling
Counselling sessions are available via a hybrid of on-site, telephone or Telehealth (online video communication). Appointments are available Monday to Friday 9AM-5PM. After-hours/evening sessions are available Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

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

There will be COVID-safe protocols in place until further notice. These include:

  • Mandatory wearing of masks whilst inside the building (unless exemptions apply)
  • Use of QR codes upon entry
  • Encouragement of social distancing and internal and external space will be arranged to support this
  • Encouragement of regular handwashing

If you are experiencing any cold or flu symptoms, please contact us before coming and we can reschedule the appointment or provide the appointment via Telehealth.

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
Therapeutic groups are temporarily paused. Updates will continue to be posted on the THH web site. There are other therapeutic groups and peer support groups offered through our Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) and Family Violence services. The Peer Education Program also offers workshops for LGBTIQ+ communities. 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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Restrictions within Victoria are now in place. We must take appropriate steps to address the health and well-being of everyone who uses the Positive Living Centre. Therefore, the Centre is currently closed and will only re-open in accordance with State Government advice.

Services available during this period are:

  1. Client Care and Support, via phone or email.
  2. The David Williams Fund (Financial Counselling and Emergency Relief) will be provided over the phone or email.
  3. If you require nutritional support, normally provided in the form of Pantry, please contact the service in order to talk to a Client Care and Support Worker who will explore how we can assist you.
  4. HALC (Legal Service) will be offered via phone, email or other online options if required.

Contact the Positive Living Centre on (03) 9863 0444 or email plcfeedback@thorneharbour.org

PRONTO! Rapid HIV Testing
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PRONTO! is providing COVID-19 safe peer HIV and STI testing services.  At this time, we will not be offering rapid HIV tests.  Serology (blood) HIV tests and STI screenings will be offered and appointments will be reduced to 15 minutes. Rapid HIV Testing will resume once all lockdown restrictions have been lifted and it is safe to do so.

Clients will be asked to wear a face mask, sanitise their hands and sign in via QR code on arrival.

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.

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

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

Face Masks & Counselling Appointments

To make sure we can continue in-person counselling we need to work together to keep each other safe. For this reason, we need everyone to wear masks when they are together.

Coming into Thorne Harbour Health for an appointment:

All people on-site/indoors at Thorne Harbour Health will have to wear a fitted mask at all times. This includes when waiting in the foyer, walking around the building and when seeing your counsellor or support worker for an appointment. In these sessions, you can expect that your counsellor/worker will wear a fitted mask for the duration of the session. Because wearing masks can make it a little harder to hear each other, please speak slowly and a little louder. Let the person you’re with know if you are having difficulty hearing them.

If you leave you mask at home or if your mask breaks, please speak to reception who will be able to provide you with a new mask. If you need to take a break/take you mask off: Please speak to your counsellor/worker who will be able to guide you to our designated outdoor space where you can safely remove your mask for a short break.

Meeting your worker in public for an appointment:

If you are meeting your counsellor/worker outdoors or in a public space, it is important that you wear a mask for the duration of this meeting. This includes if you are being transported somewhere by your counsellor/worker. You counsellor/worker will wear a mask at all times during your meeting also, regardless of whether you are meeting indoors or outdoors.

If you have an exemption or are unable to wear a mask:

If you are unable to wear a mask for your appointment, please alert your counsellor/worker to this before coming into see us. Your counsellor/worker will be able to talk you through all your different options so you can find the best and safest way to catch-up.

We will keep you updated as restrictions change. Please let us know if there are any additional precautions you would like us to take to ensure your safety.

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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