ISTAR COVID-19 Update

May 6, 2020

To our valued clients and their families:

On May 1st, Alberta Premier Kenney announced a Phased Relaunch Strategy that includes Speech-Language Pathology clinics along with many other businesses. Although it is encouraging that the government is permitting in-person visits effective May 4th, we are still mandated to follow strict guidelines set out by the Alberta College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (ACSLPA), Alberta Health Services and the University of Alberta. These guidelines include taking extra precautions to ensure all of our clients, clinicians and team members remain safe and healthy. In addition, there are still restrictions on meeting in groups and in interacting with the community and retail business which has an impact on some therapy activities.

At this time, we remain open and we will continue to offer speech therapy assessments and therapy using Virtual Care (distance) technology. We will notify clients once we are able to transition back to limited in-person sessions. Should you wish to continue with virtual care after all restrictions are lifted, please notify your clinician and we will make arrangements to accommodate you. In the meantime, we will continue to finalize our work processes, and to acquire sufficient supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Your safety and well-being, as well as that of our team, continues to be our number one priority. Thank you for your continued patience, flexibility and understanding as this situation evolves. We look forward to seeing and talking to you again soon.

March 20, 2020

UPDATE: ISTAR is now serving clients using remote technology (Virtual Care using Skype, Zoom, etc) EXCLUSIVELY. If you had an in-person appointment scheduled, please be assured that your appointment time is still reserved for service to continue remotely for you and that we will contact you with more information. This change is due to our ongoing concern for the health and safety of our clients, and to comply with the recommendations outlined to us by our faculty and provincial/federal health agencies.

If you need assistance connecting into your appointment remotely, please contact the ISTAR office at 780-492-2619 or istar@ualberta.ca. Please note that due to the volume of calls, email is currently the best way to reach us. However, we will reply to you by phone if you include your number in your email.

March 19, 2020

The health and well-being of all ISTAR clients and staff are of the utmost importance to us.

While appointments are still being held, we are asking clients to attend their sessions remotely to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for everyone in our community. Through the use of distance therapy, clients will be able to maintain and reach all speech and communication goals that have been outlined with their speech therapist. Research studies have shown the speech therapy conducted over tele-conferencing platforms can be just as effective as in-person sessions.

Remote appointments can be conducted using:

  • FaceTime
  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • Google Hangouts Meet
  • Other technologies as needed

We want you to know that we are taking the health of our clients, staff and all Albertans very seriously during this time. We are currently working to implement best practices and precautionary measures to prevent any interruption in service to our clients.

If you visit ISTAR, to protect yourself and others:

  • If you are feeling unwell and exhibiting cold and/or flu symptoms, you must hold off on visiting the clinic until you are feeling healthy and have been cleared by your primary health-care provider.
  • For anyone who has traveled, you must wait at least 14 days from the time of your return before coming to ISTAR. AHS recommends isolating for 14 days for anyone who has traveled.

If any of these above scenarios apply to you, and you have an upcoming visit within the 14-day time frame, please give us a call at 780-492-2619 and we will be happy to reschedule your visit to a later date and/or coordinate a remote session with your therapist.

For those coming in to ISTAR, we want to assure you that we are following the suggested Alberta Health Services guidelines to mitigate risks for exposure by:

  • Screening visitors for a recent history of travel and cold/flu symptoms before they come to the clinic
  • Promoting frequent hand washing for all clients and staff, including upon entrance and exit of all sessions
  • Following strict cleaning procedures, including routine surface cleaning of all materials, desks, chairs and door handles

We encourage you to familiarize yourself with COVID-19 information and guidelines provided by Alberta Health Services. You can find this information HERE.

We are closely following all COVID-19 updates. Please watch this page for updated information related to ISTAR programs and services as the situation evolves.

You can also follow University of Alberta COVID-19 updates HERE.

If you have any questions about ISTAR services and updates, please call us at 780-492-2619 or email us at istar@ualberta.ca.

Thank you for helping us keep our community as safe as possible. Stay well!