Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Update – 17 April 2020

Service & NDIA Update

Thank you for continuing to work with us at this difficult time. As you are most aware the Commonwealth and State Governments are maintaining restrictions to address the spread of COVID- 19.

SASI Supported Independent Living (SIL) houses are continuing to provide support  to our residents in their own homes. We plan to offer further virtual supports in the very near future to assist families outside the SIL area.

I would like to reassure you that staff are following all of the advice provided by the experts in terms of infection control, regular washing of hands, social distancing and limits to only two people in indoor and outdoor spaces. This is a stressful time for everyone and it is understandable that people are feeling anxious about what is happening now and what may happen in the future. In these uncertain times we will continue to provide you with updated information as we receive it.

NDIS has announced some changes to provide additional support to clients and families.

Urgent Plan reviews: The NDIA is advising special teams of planners are available to help make urgent changes to plans where required. Call: 1800 800 110. Normal hotline open hours apply: 8am – 8pm (local time) Monday- Friday.

NDIA have also announced that if a person’s Core funding is low, then they can move some funding from Capacity Building to Core. Scheduled Plan reviews Face-to-face planning has shifted to telephone meetings where possible. NDIS plans are to be extended by up to 24 months in most cases so it is important to think about how people’s needs may change over the 24 months and plan ahead. The NDIA states that on the day a plan is due to expire, if it has not yet been reviewed, it will be automatically be extended by 365 days (replacing the previous 28 day rule).

Support Coordination:  NDIA has recognised that at this difficult time, Support Coordination has become an essential service. A new line item for Support Coordination has been added to Core Supports. This will allow clients without Support Coordination funding (or who have used all of their Support Coordination funds) to access the service through their Core budget. People who are Agency managed will need to use a registered Support Coordination provider.

The following resources have been made available to staff and may be of some use to you or members of your family.

Beyond Blue resources: If you feel you need mental health support you can call the Beyond Blue Support Service. The free and confidential service is available every day to all Australians online from 3pm to midnight AEST or 24 hours a day by phone on 1300 22 4636. The Beyond Blue Online Forums have a dedicated ‘Coping with the Coronavirus outbreak’ section for anyone seeking a safe and anonymous place to discuss their mental health and well-being.

For practical information and tips, please visit the Beyond Blue Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak webpage.

If you are seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19) you can call the dedicated national hotline 1800 020 080, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There are also free online supports to help stay active and healthy for example the RACV have also put together a list of free resources to help keep your mind and your body active and healthy during this time. https://www.racv.com.au/royalauto/living/at-home/things-to-do-home-selfisolation.html

NDIS Participants have priority access to order their groceries online. This means, as an NDIS participant, you can purchase grocery items online to be delivered to your home. The NDIA will send all participants a unique home delivery access code by SMS or email to access priority home delivery services.

To access priority home delivery services:

1. Complete your shopping online for home delivery with participating supermarket retailers.

2. When prompted enter your unique priority home delivery code.

3. Submit your order. https://www.ndis.gov.au/coronavirus/latest-advice-ndis

We will do our best to keep in contact with you via email and phone to answer any questions you may have and support you at this time of need.

Stay safe, stay well.

Kath Ferry, CEO

Update – 1 April 2020

Cyber Security during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Fast Facts:

  • Be wary of suspicious or COVID-19 related emails, messages and phone calls purporting to be representing DHHS or other government agencies
  • Malicious emails, messages and phone calls relating to COVID-19 are in circulation and COVID-19 cyber threats are increasing.
  • Check the authenticity of COVID-19 messages by visiting the official website for updates, such as the DHHS website.
  • Keep well-informed of scams reported by the Australian community by visiting the Australian Government sites Stay Smart Online and Scamwatch.

COVID-19 Cyber Security – In-depth:
NDS reminds members that as part of the disability sector response to COVID-19, it is important to include cyber security considerations. Scammers are taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to exploit weaknesses in online security.

NDS members are warned to be wary of suspicious or COVID-19 related emails, messages and phone calls purporting to be representing DHHS or other government agencies.

The Victorian Government Cyber Incident Response Service Unit (CIRS) and DHHS have issued an official Cyber Alert stating that malicious emails, messages and phone calls relating to Covid-19 are in circulation and COVID-19 cyber threats are increasing.

Cyber criminals are creating phishing, spear phishing and thousands of fake webpages, including references to COVID-19, to trick people into providing sensitive information.
The following cyber security information has been provided by CIRS and DHHS:

How do I know if the email, phone call or SMS is legitimate?

  • Hover over the sender’s email address and right click on your mouse to reveal the sender’s details
  • If possible, call the sender on a trusted phone number to verify they sent it
  • Use links that you have used in the past.

What do I do if I suspect that the email, phone call or SMS is NOT legitimate?
If you receive an email from a source purporting to represent DHHS or another institution:

  • Do not open or respond to the email
  • Do not download any attachments or click on any links
  • Provide a screenshot to IT service provide
  • Do not delete the email, until instructed otherwise by your IT service provider.

If you receive a phone call or SMS with threats of cancellation of services:

  • Do not respond to the request and hang up
  • Contact your IT service provider
  • Contact the relevant institution, if appropriate.

If you receive a phone call requesting information or payment from a person representing themselves in an official capacity:

  • Do not respond to the request and hang up
  • Contact your IT service provider
  • Contact the relevant institution, if appropriate.

Additional Information:
Further information on good cyber security measures is available from the Cyber Security Centre of the Australian Signals Directorate.

Check the authenticity of COVID-19 messages by visiting the official website for updates, such as the DHHS website.

Keep well-informed of scams reported by the Australian community by visiting the Australian Government sites Stay Smart Online and Scamwatch.

A handy infographic [PDF | Word] for NDS members who have staff working from home is available as a resource to remind people of the need to have a security mindset.

Coronavirus Australia – Phone App

Download the use the Australian Government Coronavirus app to:

  • stay up to date with the official information and advice
  • important health advice to help stop the spread and stay healthy
  • get a quick snapshot of the current official status within Australia
  • check your symptoms if you are concerned about yourself or someone else
  • find relevant contact information
  • access updated information from the Australian Government
  • receive push notifications of urgent information and updates

Update – 23 March 2020

SASI Active Choice Services

As you are aware this is an unprecedented time in Australia’s history. On behalf of the Board and Executive Team, I would like to thank you all SASI staff for the hard work you have been doing, especially in the recent even more challenging circumstances.

The decisions made and outlined below, are proportionate to the threat and none have been taken lightly. We must prepare for the significant risk that COVID-19 poses, particularly for our vulnerable clients, for you our staff and your families.

In line with Victorian Government bulletin today SASI will commence Stage 1 of our plan.

The first stage of SASI’s response, focuses on containment ­– identifying and isolating any possible cases and their close contacts.

In line with the Victorian Government lockdown, all Active Choice Services and In-home Supports are suspended effective from close of business today, Monday 23 March.

Expressions of Interest will be sought from AC staff to work shifts in our Supported Independent Living Homes. Otherwise all permanent part-time and full-time direct support workers must take either annual or long service from 24th March 2020 until further notice.

SASI will support all staff without sufficient leave to access Centrelink benefits.

SASI Supported Independent Living houses will continue as normal being considered Essential Services.

Active Choice staff currently working in these houses can remain working.

However, residents are not permitted to go home, go into community settings and no visitors are permitted (which includes family members)

SIL Practice Leaders will commence working Monday to Friday between 8.30am – 4.30pm effective immediately to support the staff and clients during this difficult time.

Head Office will be closed to the public and staff have been redirected to work from home. All calls will be triaged and emailed to the Executive Group for immediate follow up action. Head Office 9773 6044.

Remote Response will be manned by the Operations Managers and an Absentee Line has been established 0427 835 848 during business hours. Please call the Absentee Line if you need to be absent from your scheduled work for any reason so we can arrange coverage. Outside of business hours please call Remote Response 0410 430 723.

Everyone has a role to play. You should wash your hands with soap and water, and cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough with a tissue or elbow. Importantly, if you’re sick you should do not attend work, to minimise the potential of spreading the infection, please call the Absentee Line.

If you’re concerned or need support please on call Head Office on 9773 6044 or access EAP services (Relationship Matters) on 8650 6262.

Please be mindful of all directives from the Government regarding keeping yourselves and the community safe and well.

We are obviously uncertain about how long this period will continue but, rest assured SASI wishes to retain all of our staff into the future and when we are back to ‘business as usual’ 

Take care everyone and stay safe.

Update – 20 March 2020

Important message to our community

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, SASI is doing what we always do at times of challenge – leaning on our mission and core values so that we can look after everyone within the SASI community and beyond. This extends to people we support, our staffing teams,
families /carers and all stakeholders.

Much of the work we do involves person to person contact, which sees us connect with a variety of communities, many of which include vulnerable people with compromised health requirements.

From today, we will limit the number of non-essential visitors to our services and we are also asking everyone at SASI, our families, carers and the people who work with us including all visitors, to vigilantly practise good hygiene, and to manage any flu-like symptoms seriously by seeking immediate medical care.

For up-to-date information, please keep informed with the Australian Government Department of Health: clear here

The NDIS also has information provided in easy English: click here

Update – 19 March 2020

Services @ SASI, Croydon

This morning we have been notified from one of our families that they have had an immediate family member return from overseas presenting with cold like symptoms.

As a precautionary measure, our service at 2-4 Webster Avenue, Croydon will be closing for 14 days effective from today and all SASI staff members have been directed to self-isolate during this period.

In relation to self-isolation, our teams will follow the current up to date guidelines as set out by the Government – for further information please click here

Update – 18 March 2020

Camps / Recreation / School Holiday / Weekend Programs

SASI is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and currently, Australia does not have widespread community transmission. As the situation is changing rapidly we shall keep you up to date with the latest information about the spread of COVID-19.

SASI have implemented safety measures recommended by Government authorities and will continue to follow their advice as we develop plans and implement appropriate measures as the situation arises. The aim at the moment is to reduce the spread to enable health facilities to manage in the future.

Given the current climate, SASI will cancel all Camps / Recreation / School Holiday / Weekend Programs effective from Monday 23rd March 2020.

We will be vigilant in monitoring the health of each client whilst in attendance at services. Currently, if the parent/carer of any client, is showing, but not limited to, the following symptoms will be asked to collect them immediately and contact their GP and/or the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 and follow the recommendations given by either of the above.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of Breath

In-home support and active choice services will continue as scheduled at this stage and we are currently reviewing all client community activities and shall keep you updated of any changes as things unfold.  We shall contact you directly if there is any impact or disruption to our support services for your loved one.

Thank you for your understanding during this challenging time.

Update – 17 March 2020

As always, the health and safety of our employees and clients remains our top priority.

SASI is closely monitoring the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 and currently, Australia does not have widespread community transmission of COVID-19. As the situation is changing rapidly we shall keep you up to date with the latest information about the spread of COVID-19 and we shall contact you directly if there will is any impact or disruption to our support services.

SASI have implemented safety measures recommended by Government authorities and will continue to follow their advice as we develop plans and contingencies.

If there is any further information about the COVID-19 it is available here: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has published an Easy Read document containing important information about the coronavirus that you can find here: https://www.ndis.gov.au/understanding/ndis-and-other-government-services/ndis-and-disaster-response?mc_cid=a1100eacd9&mc_eid=1075795bf2)

f
AA