Dear Participants, Guardians and Staff,
In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and its prevalence in Canberra, DAACCS is concerned about the wellbeing of our participants and workers. We are keeping ourselves informed of the progression of the COVID-19 virus through the Government directives and advice from health experts.
The following are some of the measures we will take to keep our participants and workers safe.
Provide uninterrupted support services
- DAACCS will not cease our supports for our participants, this is when our participants need us the most.
To provide essential supports
- While DAACCS will continue to support each participant throughout this difficult period, we must prioritise providing essential services which are critical for the wellbeing of our participants in the coming days, weeks and months. Essential services include, but not limited to;
- provision of personal care/ showering
- meal preparation
- transportation of participants to medical appointments and
- grocery shopping.
- We will strive to provide uninterrupted services to our participants and serve the Canberra community in line with the policy directions of the Government . All changes to supports will be informed and be considered in consultation with participants/carers/family and support staff on a case by case basis.
Temporary arrangement/ cancellation of support
- Given the unpredictability of the current situation, there could be last minute cancellations of supports under health grounds. Such cancellations can happen either from the participant’s or from DAACCS. Should there be such cancellations from DAACCS, we will try to arrange our support in the following ways:
- Arrange another available worker to support the participant; or
- Arrange to reschedule the support for the participant on the same day either with their regular worker or with another worker; or
- Arrange to reschedule the support to a different day with the regular worker or with another worker; or
- Cancel the support if the arrangements discussed under a, b & c are not suitable.
All parties involved will be duly informed of the changes.
What if a worker is diagnosed with COVID-19?
- If a worker from DAACCS is diagnosed with COVID-19, the worker will have to immediately notify the Manager at DAACCS, and follow all the mandatory protocols and procedures to recover and as well as to stop from further spreading the virus. A worker will also follow health protocols if he/she is suspected of having come into contact with COVID-19 positive case. A participant who has been supported by a worker who tested positive of COVID-19 will be accordingly advised to complete all medical procedures.
What if a participant is diagnosed with COVID-19?
- If a participant is diagnosed with COVID-19, the concerned participant and the worker must notify the Manager at DAACCS immediately after the diagnosis. We will ask the concerned workers who came into contact with an infected participant to remain in quarantine and exhaust all procedures as required by the Department of Health.
- As a service provider, we are obligated to deliver safe and quality services in a safe environment and manage risks associated with the services we provide. Specifically, for COVID-19 pandemic, all our workers will have undergone an online training developed by the Australian Government Department of Health so that our workers have the real time knowledge and skills to support our participants.
- Under circumstances that the pandemic impairs our capacity to deliver safe and quality services to our participants, it will be our obligation to notify all concerned stakeholders about our inability to deliver support services to our participant(s), temporarily or otherwise as deemed fit. We will keep all our participants and concerned stakeholders informed on a regular basis.
Participant’s/ carer’s/ Guardian’s obligation
- It is the obligation of each participant/ carer/ Guardian to abide by the advice and directives of the Government and health experts to take all precautionary measure to keep each participant safe from COVID-19 such as through practices like regular hand washing, social distancing, practice respiratory etiquette, etc. It is also the obligation of each participant/ carer/ Guardian to contact the health practitioners and the workers if they are not well.
Update from NDIS
NDIS plans to be extended by up to 24 months
- The new measures include extending NDIS plans for up to 24 months.
- NDIS participants will have access to more funding and can contact the Agency by phone to discuss necessary changes to their plan, without having to attend an NDIS shopfront.
Action plan to ensure NDIS participants and their families continue to receive the essential disability supports they need.
- Where usual services are disrupted, the NDIA will be able to direct participants to an alternative provider, ensuring ongoing support.
- Where a provider is no longer able to offer an essential service, such as assistance with daily living, participants can contact the NDIA to arrange alternative supports.
More flexibility in core vs capacity building supports
- Understanding that the Coronavirus pandemic will see people spending more time in their homes, the NDIS is offering further flexibility of core funding and the ability to amend plans.
- Where necessary, participants will be able to shift funding from their capacity building budget to pay for core supports.
- This flexibility will need to be arranged with an NDIS planner prior to the purchase of those supports.
How to access these changes
- Participants should contact the NDIA on 1800 800 110 to speak with a planner, make changes to their plan or if they are having trouble sourcing services due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
- The Minister has stated that the NDIA can and will make further changes as required. It is expected that further clarification will come from the Government on this over the coming days. IDEAL Plan Management will provide updates and clarity on the NDIS’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak as information comes to light.
DAACCS will keep each one of you updated on COVID-19 and the effects on future service delivery.
By staying informed, adhering to social distancing, good hygiene and complying with health directives, we can get through this together.
Please call me on 0434 285 365 if you need any additional information.
UPDATE: 20/03/2020: Be alert stay updated COVID-19
Thursday 19 March 2020 – Drive through testing for COVID-19 to commence at EPIC from Friday
The ACT Government is making testing for COVID-19 more accessible for Canberrans who meet the testing criteria, with the introduction of a drive through Respiratory Assessment Clinic. The clinic will be located at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) from Friday 20 March.
Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the drive through clinic would complement the dedicated Respiratory Assessment Clinic already operating from the Weston Creek Walk-in Centre as well as the Canberra Hospital’s Respiratory Assessment Clinic.
“The Respiratory Assessment Clinic at the Weston Creek Walk-in Centre has been experiencing strong demand, so to assist with meeting this demand we will be providing Canberrans with the option for drive through COVID-19 testing at EPIC,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.
“We’re asking people presenting for a COVID-19 test to check prior to attending that they meet the meet the criteria for testing, just as we are with the Respiratory Assessment Clinic at the Weston Creek Walk-in Centre.
“You must also be driving or a passenger of a motor vehicle or motorbike. You will not be able to access the drive through testing service from public transport, or as a pedestrian.
“For northside residents who are not able to drive to EPIC, both the Belconnen and Gungahlin Walk-in Centres can undertake assessment and testing for COVID-19, but Weston Creek remains the recommended location,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.
You should get tested for COVID-19 if:
- you’ve travelled overseas recently, and you develop symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days of leaving an overseas country
- you have been informed by your local Public Health Unit that you have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and you develop symptoms of the disease within 14 days of your last contact with that person
- you’re a healthcare worker with direct patient contact, and have fever and acute respiratory symptoms, even if you have not recently travelled or had contact with someone who has COVID-19.
People presenting to the drive through Respiratory Assessment Clinic will first be screened to ensure they meet the criteria for testing before proceeding by vehicle into the Budawang Pavilion for testing. They will not be required to leave their vehicle.
Security and traffic operations will be on site to assist with traffic flow.
The drive-through Respiratory Assessment Clinic will operate seven days per week, from 9:30am to 6:00pm, and be staffed by experienced nursing and administrative staff from Canberra Health Services.
“The rate of testing for COVID-19 in Australia is high. I thank the hardworking and dedicated staff – in the Walk-in Centres, ACT Pathology and across primary healthcare services – who continue to provide exceptional health care for our community.”
The ACT’s public health services have tested more than 1800 people for COVID-19 since 10 February 2020 and in recent days have tested more than 200 people per day.
For ongoing up to date information on COVID-19 please visit https://www.health.act.gov.au/
Thursday 19 March 2020 – Restricted visitors to Canberra’s public health services
The ACT health system is putting in place new measures to help slow the spread of COVID 19 in our community.
From today, Canberra’s public health services are introducing visitor restrictions at key sites, including Canberra Hospital, University of Canberra Hospital and Calvary Public Hospital.
Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said these changes will help to keep patients and staff safe.
“We’ve all heard the messages about social distancing and protecting those in our community who are most likely to become seriously ill with COVID 19.
“Our top priority is reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 in the ACT. We need to ensure that those who are sick are not put at further risk. We also need to keep our health services staff safe and well so they can continue to provide healthcare to our community.
“Every single one of us has a role to play in this. If you are unwell, please do not visit our hospitals. We are also asking patients to limit visitors to one person per day.
“If you have an appointment at an outpatient clinic, please do not bring anyone unless absolutely necessary and if this is the case please limit it to one person.
“This is a difficult ask. We know that patients need the love and support of family and friends when undergoing treatment or in a hospital, and this policy will be applied with compassion and common sense. For example, children who are well will still be able to visit a parent or sibling accompanied by an adult.
“Decisions like this are not taken lightly. I hope all Canberrans can understand that this decision has been made to ensure the safety of staff and patients across our health system,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.
Dr Sanjaya Senanayake, CHS Senior Specialist Infectious Diseases said, “by restricting visitors to our hospital campus, we are trying to reduce the spread of COVID-19 amongst staff, patients, their friends and relatives, thereby protecting the people within our hospitals and in the wider community.”
The changes will be across all Canberra Health Services (CHS) campuses, including Canberra Hospital and University of Canberra Hospital (UCH) and Community Health Centres, as well as Calvary Public Hospital.
Private hospitals including National Capital Private Hospital are also introducing restrictions.
The services will be reviewing these changes in coming days with the view to implementing more restrictions should they be required to keep patients and staff safe.
For more information on COVID-19 in the ACT health.act.gov.au
UPDATE: 12/03/2020: Be alert stay updated COVID-19
All DAACCS employees must consult national travel advice before going on overseas trips.
If any staff has travelled overseas in the past 14 days or intend to travel overseas in the next few weeks, please alert management immediately.
As per the latest advice from WHO.
If COVID-19 starts spreading in our community, anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) needs to stay at home.
You should also stay home if you have had to take simple medications, such as paracetamol/ ibuprofen or aspirin, which may mask symptoms of infection.
Keep communicating with DAACCS Management and stay at home even if you have just mild symptoms of COVID-19.
There is evidence that it spreads from person to person. Good hygiene can prevent infection.
All staff, please keep yourself updated on the latest information and advice
Department of Health: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov
ACT Health: https://health.act.gov.au/public-health-alert/updated-information-about-covid-19
Please follow correct hand wash procedures as shown below