As you know, there is ongoing and growing concern about the spread of COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus.
This is impacting on us here at Life Choice, and as a disability support service, we have very specific vulnerabilities. These include:
- We support many people with suppressed or vulnerable immune systems
- Many of our services happen in group settings
- Our clients’ support needs make social distancing difficult to implement
- Our clients may have multiple visitors in their home
- Our clients may not understand the risks and additional hygiene measures required
- Our clients may be dependent on others for basic activities of daily living
- Our clients may not have suitable support and/or accommodation contingencies available to them.
While none of this means we need to panic, it does mean we need to respond responsibly in line with government and medical advice and begin planning for a potential worsening of the situation. We urge you to stay vigilant. Please do not attend our site or services if you are showing signs of a runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever or difficulty breathing or have recently returned from overseas. Please wash your hands thoroughly when you enter one of our sites.
What is Life Choice doing to create a safe environment?
- We have increased the frequency of environmental cleaning.
- We are running education sessions on the importance of good hygiene and will increase our supervision in this regard.
- Where possible, staff will not move between our sites. This not only reduces transmission, but also ensures that if one of our sites is directed to close, we will still be able to provide telephone support and allied health services at the other site.
- We will continue to provide home support and support in the community (unless advice changes), however, we will not be running or attending any group programs where people with disability congregate.
- We will avoid any activities that place people in close proximity to others for extended periods such as concerts and movie theatres.
- We have cancelled all onsite meetings and video/teleconferencing will be utilised instead.
- Our staff will also not attend non-essential meetings or training at external sites.
- Staff not required to be physically present at the site will work from home.
- Both the Maryborough and Hervey Bay offices will remain staffed but will not be open for Participants or Support Workers unless attending an Allied Health appointment.
- Staff or clients who have returned from any overseas travel will be excluded from the service for 14 days, and will require medical clearance before returning.
- Staff or clients displaying any symptoms of Coronavirus, will be isolated until they can be sent home and will require medical clearance before returning.
If you are concerned that you or your loved one may be infected:
- The national 24/7 hotline triages people with respiratory symptoms and those who are concerned about contact with a possible Coronavirus case. If you think you may be infected, you can call the triage hotline on 1800 020 080.
- Suspected Coronavirus patients can present in person to a GP clinic, a dedicated respiratory clinic or to a hospital ED if they call ahead.
- Please notify us ASAP.
Telehealth Services Available
- Telehealth services will be available for people who:
- are self-isolating according to medical advice
- have chronic health conditions or who are immunocompromised
- are parents with new babies
- are pregnant.
- over 70 or are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and over 50.
- People in isolation or quarantine for Coronavirus can see any eligible health provider through new telehealth items.
- Patients in vulnerable groups can also see a health provider via telehealth for a non-Coronavirus matter if they have seen that provider face-to-face at least once in the previous 12 months.
What are the next steps?
We are meeting regularly with senior management to discuss the current health advice and the impact on our service.
- As always, you should feel free to call Participant Services if you have any concerns about your family member or the service.
- We will be continuing to monitor the information provided by the government to ensure the best response in keeping people safe and infection free.
- We need to acknowledge that at some point, this may mean our current delivery of services may/will need to be changed. We are working on contingency planning to reduce the impact on our clients and staff.
- We will keep you informed and provide as much lead-time possible if this is looking likely.
Chief Executive Officer