Frequently Asked Questions: Virtual Care and Support during COVID-19 Pandemic

At Sherbourne, we’re working hard to ensure you safely receive the care you need to help manage through the current pandemic. As we continue to adapt our programs and services to remain accessible and responsive to our communities, the below information helps address some questions our service users may have, including: what services are available, how to book an appointment, and what safety measures are in place if you are visiting Sherbourne for an onsite appointment.

Why are you primarily offering virtual care, as opposed to in-person appointments?

As a healthcare provider, above all else, we prioritize the health and safety of our service users, staff and communities. This also means that we have a primary responsibility to help limit community spread of COVID-19. Though businesses in other sectors may begin to open up operations in the weeks ahead, because of our critical role within the healthcare sector, we will continue to provide almost exclusively virtual care appointments to all service users in our efforts to contain the virusThis is also in accordance with provincial health care regulatory bodies, which have advised to continue to offer virtual/telephone care as the main method of conducting care and support.

In addition to limiting community spread of the infection, prioritizing virtual care appointments allows us to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) so we can safely continue our building operations and remain open for urgent matters. Health centres and hospitals are considered higher risk for spreading COVID-19 and it is for client safety that appointments are preferably done virtually, or safely delayed until the virus has lessened in Toronto.

Sherbourne will be reviewing community COVID-19 data and case numbers closely in order to make decisions about when it may be safe to start opening up our services. Our decision-making is informed by data and direction from public health authorities and the Ministry of Health.

What services and supports can be booked virtually? How do I book?

One-on-one virtual care and support via video, audio or telephone appointments are available with Primary Care, Dietitians, the Diabetes Education Program, and SOY Youth Resource Workers. Please call our medical secretaries at 416-324-4100 (then press 1) to book a virtual appointment.

If you require mental health support, please contact your Sherbourne provider and they will submit a request to the on-call counsellor to follow up for a single virtual session. NOTE: Virtual walk-in counselling is not yet available. Once it is developed, additional information on accessing this service will be posted on our web page: ‘Important Notice: Service Changes due to COVID-19.’

At this time, all onsite community groups and drop-ins are cancelled until further notice. However, select virtual support groups are now being offered. Read more on our homepage.

Can I still book an in-person appointment? 

Please note that while we are trying to do most visits virtually, we realize that for some people it will be necessary to assess in person. If your provider feels it is necessary to see you in person, you will be contacted with further instructions. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis, as we must weigh the benefits of an in-person visit versus the potential risk of spreading COVID-19.

What are your clinical hours of operation?

Clinical services will operate Monday to Friday from 9 am-5 pm (with Saturday clinics suspended) until further notice.

What safety measures are in place if I have to come to Sherbourne for an appointment?

Sherbourne is taking thorough measures to ensure service user and staff safety for in-person visits and to help limit the spread of COVID-19. All visitors to the building are actively screened prior to entrance. All visitors (including staff) are asked to wash hands and wear a surgical mask that is provided to them after being screened. Fewer people are permitted to enter the building to help with crowd control and ensure proper social distancing. Clinical providers wear full PPE at all times when administering healthcare services and interacting with others. Distance floor markers and sneeze guards are installed in common staff/client interactions areas, and additional cleaning processes include an increased frequency of cleaning of high-touch surfaces.

I think I have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to it. What should I do?

Take this self-assessment from the Government of Ontario if you’re worried you were exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms. Recommended next steps will be provided to you.

Should I (or my child) go to school today?

Answer these questions from Toronto Public Health’s School screening for COVID-19 to help decide if you or your child should, or should not, go to school each day. This tool should be used daily before going to school. For more detailed guidance, see Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Decision Tool for Schools.

Where can I find ongoing details of Sherbourne’s modified programs and services?

For ongoing details regarding our modified programs and services, read ‘Important Notice: Service Changes due to COVID-19.’