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Service Changes COVID-19

Due to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we have been making 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, and the communities we serve.

UPDATED 25 MARCH 2020

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 below, please contact us via email.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

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

All AOD groups have currently been suspended. Until we are able to resume our group activities, we will be operating a phone-based check in service for people who are currently enrolled in any of our groups. People enrolled in any of our groups will hear from us shortly to discuss this alternative service.

Centre Clinic
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The Centre Clinic is continuing to operate. Currently, telehealth appointments are being strongly encouraged for all patients in the first instance.

The clinic is offering Medicare-billed telehealth appointments to all patients that are eligible within Medicare guidelines, including people who are:

  • Aged over 70
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged over 50
  • Living with a chronic illness or immunocompromised
  • Parents of a child under 1 yr old or pregnant

Patients can request a Telehealth appointment when booking. The receptionist can confirm eligibility.

New patients, people without Medicare, and patients that have not attended the practice in the past 12 months are not eligible for Medicare-billed telehealth services at this time.

Privately-billed telehealth services are available to all 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.

Community Support
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Contact numbers remain the same, including:

  • Support: (03) 9863 0426
  • Home Care and NDIS: (03) 9863 0430
  • Housing Plus: (03) 9863 0425

Social Support
All group social outings, including lunches, have been suspended. Support will be provided by regular phone contact from staff and volunteers.

Home Care
Help at home (home care, NDIS and aged care support) will continue, provided clients do not have flu-like symptoms (such as fever, sore throat, cough).

NDIS community participation
NDIS community participation shifts are going ahead but are restricted to destinations where there is limited contact with others.

Medical transport
Volunteer transport to medical appointments will continue, but trips will be cancelled if clients have any flu-like symptoms.

Peer support
Staff and volunteers will provide peer support by phone. Staff peer support in hospital clinics has been suspended.

Housing
Housing support will be provided by phone. If you are experiencing housing instability or homelessness, please call Housing Plus on (03) 9863 0425. Our Launch Housing worker will continue to support clients with emergency housing needs, but this will be done by phone.

Nutrition support and shopping
We are making arrangements to support clients who rely on PLC pantry, and Community Support clients who may not be able to go shopping. If you need help with shopping, please call the support office on (03) 9863 0426.

Counselling
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We are now providing the option of Telehealth or telephone counselling. While the format of sessions will change, all other aspects of our individual counselling service will remain 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.

Therapeutic Groups
Due to health advice around gatherings at this stage, our therapeutic groups are currently postponed.

Equinox Trans and Gender Diverse Health Service
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Equinox is continuing to provide GP services and is offering Medicare-billed telehealth appointments to patients that are eligible within Medicare guidelines, including people who are:

  • Aged over 70
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged over 50
  • Living with a chronic illness or immunocompromised
  • Parents of a child under 1 yr old or pregnant

Patients can request a Telehealth appointment when booking. The receptionist can confirm eligibility. New patients, people without Medicare and patients that have not attended the practice in the past 12 months are not eligible for Medicare-billed telehealth services.

Privately-billed telehealth services are available to all 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 are currently continuing to operate Nurse clinics to facilitate hormone injections.

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 face-to-face counselling and case management appointments will be moved to telephone or Zoom online video communication. Outreach services are temporarily suspended.

We are still providing risk assessments, safety planning and referrals for clients where appropriate. After hours appointments will continue to be provided. Partner contact will also continue to support and maintain people’s safety.

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.

Revisioning
Our Men’s Behaviour Change Program, ReVisioning, has been postponed for the time being. Each participant will continue to receive support from our facilitators on a weekly basis for check-in and safety planning.

Therapeutic Groups & Peer Support
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Due to current health advice around gatherings, all therapeutic and peer support groups have been postponed.

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.

Positive Living Centre
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Face-to-face services at Positive Living Centre are restricted until further notice. While the site is closed, 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 will continue with modification to delivery method:

  • Client Care and Support is being offered via phone or email. A proactive plan to contact vulnerable clients on a regular basis has been implemented, and staff are prioritising incoming calls and enquiries.
  • HALC (HIV Legal Service) will continue to be offered via phone or email.
  • Access to Vitamart will be organised over the phone or email and delivered by post.
  • The David Williams Fund (Financial Counselling and Emergency Relief) will be provided over the phone or email.
  • Pantry will continue to be an important service, especially at this time. However, pantry packages will now be pre-prepared. These will include packaged goods and some fruit and vegetables. No cold or frozen items will be available. Clients may contact the service in order to prearrange a delivery of a prepared pantry.

All other PLC services will be temporarily suspended.

PRONTO! Rapid HIV Testing
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PRONTO! rapid HIV testing is temporarily closed.

Our PrEP clinic will continue to operate from the site for the foreseeable future. We ask that all clients with cold or flu symptoms to phone ahead BEFORE coming to their appointment.

Telehealth options for PrEP clients are being investigated and may be implemented in the future. We encourage all clients to follow our Facebook page for updates on service changes.

If you are seeking HIV or STI testing services, we recommend visiting your local general practice service. Our phone lines will be kept open should you need any testing advice or service updates.

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

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