Lumos Wellness Coronavirus (Covid-19) Actions
827 N. Cass Street
Milwaukee, WI, 53202
March 17, 2020
Dear Lumos Community,
We know that there’s widespread concern in our community about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and we want you to know that your health is our top priority at Lumos Wellness.
With the increasing uncertainty and growing number of infected individuals around the world, we encourage you to take responsibility for yourself and your family. Though the risk remains low, it’s important to take a proactive approach to minimize exposure.
Starting March 17th, all in office appointments will no longer be honored in person, but instead will be provided through the Simple Practice secure online telehealth portal. These appointments will be offered for the duration of contact precautions in our local area.
If you’re exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness, I urge you to cancel appointments, take care of yourself, and seek medical help when appropriate.
I encourage you to schedule a secure video appointment with me. Research shows that they can be just as effective as in-person appointments, and we can continue your care without interruption. If you're interested, let me know and we will make the necessary arrangements.
Please refer to the CDC’s dedicated 2019-ncov website for additional information, and maintain awareness by checking the official communications from the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization.
Tips for preparing for online sessions:
Our time together will feel much like our regular in-person meetings.
You will need a phone or laptop with an internet connection. Simple practice is accessed through a regular web browser.
Please arrange to be in a quiet, private area. If you are an adult that may mean we “meet” in your home or car. Earbuds often help with sound and privacy issues, as does a fan or noise machine placed outside of the room you are in.
If the session is planned to include a young child, you may need to help position your phone or laptop so that the child and I can see each other for at least part of the session.
If the session is planned to include a school aged child or adolescent, please consider how your child will be offered privacy within your home for some or all of the session.
If the session is for a child, it would be very helpful if you can have a few items available paper/markers/crayons, a few stuffed animals or puppets, a fidget or playdoh/putty, and a few toys that your child enjoys. I'll have some toys on my end as well.
Please know that the current literature and evidence shows that online counseling sessions have the same efficacy as in-person sessions for children and adults. It may feel a little funny at first, but you will adjust.
Currently, I have been informed that the following insurances reimburse for telehealth: Cigna, UHC, and most likely BCBS. If your insurance is not on this list, please contact your insurance directly by calling the number on the card, or reach out to me and we will sort something out.
What you can do now:
If you are feeling scared or anxious, take a breath. One simple technique is called square breathing. Visualize your breath traveling along a square. As you follow the instructions to inhale, hold your breath, or exhale, count slowly to three on each side.
Try it now.
Inhale up the first side of the square. Slowly count one, two, three. Hold your breath across the top. One, two, three. Exhale down the other side of the square. One, two, three. Then hold your breath across the bottom. One, two, three. After a few minutes of this you should be feeling calmer and more centered.
If you are feeling flooded or panicked, try to notice the environment around you.
Here’s an exercise to try:
5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a pen, a spot on the ceiling, anything in your surroundings.
4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be your hair, a pillow, or the ground under
3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This could be any external sound. If you can hear your belly rumbling that counts! Focus on things you can hear outside of your body.
2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. Maybe you are in your office and smell pencil, or maybe you are in your bedroom and smell a pillow. If you need to take a brief walk to find a scent you could smell soap in your bathroom, or nature outside.
1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like—gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch?
And finally, if you are feeling scared or worried, do something else. Move your body: go for a walk, run or bike ride or do some exercise at home. Find something creative to do: color, knit, or cook something in the kitchen. Start a new project: start seeds, organize a drawer or cabinet, or call a friend. Remind yourself of what you can do rather than focusing on what we don’t know or can’t control.
Remember, we will get through this. If you have any questions, please let me know.
Katie O’Connor, MS, LMFT, LPC, ATR, PMH-C