Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has issued an important update for regulated health professionals in BC, including psychologists.

The update, issued late in the evening March 23, 2020, provides expectations for health professionals regulated under the Health Professions Act when providing patient and client care in community settings.

The update does not apply to regulated health professionals when providing patient and client care in designated facilities or institutions regulated by the Hospital Act, the Health Authorities Act, the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, the Mental Health Act, or other relevant Acts.

Read the update from Dr. Bonnie Henry here.

The first expectation listed in the update reads as follows: “All non-essential and elective services involving direct physical contact with patients and clients should be reduced to minimal levels, subject to allowable exceptions, until further notice.”

Dr. Henry’s update outlines allowable exceptions, notes that – where possible and appropriate – health professionals are encouraged to provide care by telephone and video, and details other expectations of regulated health professionals.

As provided in previous CPBC COVID-19 updates, and included in the CPBC COVID-19 webpage , registrants are encouraged to review the telepsychology and telepsychology assessment checklists, which provide general guidance to assist registrants in identifying issues and options that should be considered, and implementing strategies to address issues, resolve problems, and improve practice, with respect to this aspect of psychology practice.

The College expects registrants to continue to make clinical decisions based on their knowledge of individual clients and their skills and competencies in deciding about continuation or cessation of any services and the modality of their delivery.  This clinical decision making must begin with the expectation and understanding that in person, face-to-face contact with clients is an exception.  Decision making must be made on an individual, case by case basis.  Any decision to allow an exception must be well reasoned in accordance with the principles outlined in the letter of the PHO and done so in accordance with the Code of Conduct.  It is no longer reasonable or acceptable for any registrant to continue an in-person practice without regard to what each individual client absolutely needs.

We invite registrants to visit the College website  often for updates as the situation with COVID-19 evolves.  We also encourage registrants to visit the BCCDC website for valuable resources, including the self-assessment tool. The College will continue to provide email updates as information becomes available.