Our latest COVID-19 info

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COVID-19 update - 7 April 2020

Li-Ve Tas residential sites closed to visitors

Today, the Tasmanian Government closed all Tasmanian hospitals and aged care facilities to visitors. There are a few exceptions, for instance, visits for compassionate or end-of-life reasons.

In line with this decision, to keep our participants safe, Li-Ve Tasmania will be closing to visitors residential sites housing people we support at high risk from COVID-19. These include:

  • Oakdale Lodge
  • Alicia
  • Packham
  • Bulman
  • Tolosa 3
  • Firthside
  • Holyman

Also, residents at these sites will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential medical attention.

We have contacted all the affected families and we will review the situation in two weeks.

We know this will be challenging for families, particularly over Easter. We’ll be working with participants to find other ways to connect (for instance, Skype and FaceTime).

If a situation is exceptional, for example, a participant is reaching the end of their life, the family should talk about their options with the General Manager – Operations on (03) 6227 5400.

All other residential sites are limited to essential visitors and essential staff (for example, student placements must stop).

Thank you for your support and cooperation.

If you are unwell or at risk

More information for Li-Ve Tasmania staff is available on the staff hub.

COVID-19 update - 3 April 2020

To help you stay up-to-date on the impacts of COVID-19 and what it means for you and your family, here are two fact sheets, each with an easy read version:

These fact sheets tell you what the new government rules mean for participants and families. The rules mean changes to:

  • visiting
  • supports from our staff
  • testing for disability support workers
  • keeping our staff and participants safe.

If you are unwell or at risk

More information for Li-Ve Tasmania staff is available on the staff hub.


COVID-19 update - 1 April 2020

Key points in this update

  • COVID-19 testing for disability support workers
  • Our changes in response to the latest government announcements
  • NDIS changes in response to COVID-19

Thank you to everyone in our Li-Ve Tasmania community for their ongoing resilience, support and kindness as we support our people through the COVID-19 challenges and changes.

You can find details of the government’s COVID-19 restrictions and exceptions on the Prime Minister’s website or by downloading the Coronavirus Australia app from the Apple App Store or Google Play or by visiting the Department of Health website at www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alertt

Testing disability support workers

Disability support workers with symptoms can now be tested for COVID-19. This is an important change that will help us keep our staff and the people we support safe.

Changes due to recent government announcements

For residents of group homes, including Oakdale Lodge

If you want to visit a group home or The Lodge, you must consider whether the visit is essential under the government rules.

Staff will keep supporting participants but we will continue to limit the number of different staff who work at each site.

Staff will be available to make sure all participants can have outdoor exercise every day.

Families may choose to bring their family member home to live with them during this time.

To keep people at Oakdale Lodge and our group homes safe:

  • we’ll take everyone’s temperature as they arrive at each site. If anyone has a temperature over 37.5 degrees, they won’t be allowed in.
  • if someone has cold or flu symptoms, or has been near a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, they won’t be allowed in.
  • all staff and visiting care workers must have an up-to-date flu vaccination or arrange to have one by 1 June.
  • only two visiting care workers can see a participant at one time. They must provide the care in the participant’s room, outdoors or in another area that is not shared. They can only stay for two hours.

For participants receiving independent support

We are talking to individual participants about what essential supports they need. The government restrictions mean that we can only support participants in home, or 1:1 to go out for exercise or essential supplies.

Disability support workers are essential workers

We have sent an ‘essential worker’ letter to all Li-Ve Tasmania staff who provide direct support to participants, so that they can continue to travel to and from work.

NDIS changes in response to COVID-19

Support coordination

Because of the pandemic, it’s hard for some people to access their usual disability supports, and some people will need different supports. So, the NDIA says support coordination to help people find and access services is an essential service. Participants without support coordination funding (including participants who have used up all their support coordination funding) can now get support coordination through their core budget.

Plans extended by 12 months

The NDIA says that on the day a plan is due to expire, it will be automatically be extended by 365 days (replacing the previous 28 day rule). If a participant wants to extend for 24 months, at the end of their plan, they can ask for this to happen.

Extra support needed?

If you need more funds now to cover your critical needs through the pandemic, ask for an unscheduled plan review.

You can find out more about the changes the NDIA has made on the NDIA's COVID-19 support and information page for participants

If you are unwell or at risk

More information for Li-Ve Tasmania staff is available on the staff hub.


COVID-19 update – 25 March 2020

Key points in this update

  • We have now closed our Hobart and Launceston offices
  • We have stopped our community access programs
  • We will take all other possible steps to protect the health of the vulnerable people we support – this will include temperature checks for staff, participants and visitors

The COVID-19 pandemic is very serious. Our actions now and in the coming months may mean the difference between life and death for vulnerable people. Looking after the people we support and our staff is our top priority. It's a big responsibility that we all need to share to succeed.

The Government has now closed many venues and services. These include licensed clubs (excluding bottleshops), pubs, hotels, gyms, indoor sporting venues, libraries, cinemas, casinos, entertainment venues, beauty therapy services, restaurants and cafes (you can still get takeaway and home delivery), places of worship, weddings, and funerals (other than very small groups with 4sqM per person).

You can find a full list of the closures that apply from midnight tonight (25 March) and exceptions on the Prime Minister’s website.

Only essential travel within Tasmania is allowed and overseas travel is now banned.

We have already made some changes at Li-Ve Tasmania to protect our participants, our staff and our sites. However, we need to do more to make sure you stay safe and we can continue to provide supports to our participants.

Office closures

From this morning (25 March), we will close our offices to the public, and anyone who can work from home must do so. The government has told us this must happen. By acting immediately, we give ourselves time to smooth out any problems, and make sure our systems and processes work.

Both our Launceston and Hobart offices will operate on a skeleton staff. Reception will still take phone calls as normal, however, the doors of both offices will be locked.

Other changes

Our COVID-19 Response Team has also:

  • stopped our community access programs and stopped participants attending community access with other providers
  • followed the Government's advice to limit visitors to all Li-Ve Tasmania group homes and Oakdale Lodge
  • agreed to take all other possible steps to protect the health of the vulnerable people we support – this will include temperature checks for staff, participants and visitors
  • started work on resources and tools to help staff and participants cope with reduced social contact and activity.

More things Li-Ve Tas is doing to protect our people

  • Paying all our staff to complete a free coronavirus e-learning module (also available to others in the community). This is now required training.
  • Limiting staff movements between sites to reduce the chances of COVID-19 spreading.
  • Planning to protect participants who are especially vulnerable.
  • Limiting the number of visitors and the length of visits along the lines of the Prime Minister’s aged care guidelines.

We’ve also:

  • sent hand hygiene packs to all our homes and offices
  • ordered thermometers to help staff, participants and visitors check for symptoms
  • put up posters to remind people about hand hygiene, limiting visits and social distancing
  • asked all staff to have flu vaccinations ASAP
  • made sure staff don’t travel interstate or overseas for work.

Our aim is to provide leadership and support in our sector by working with other disability support providers and sharing plans, resources and information about our COVID-19 response. Working together will help us fight COVID-19 more effectively.

What you can do

  • Follow the Government’s instructions to stay home unless going out is essential.
  • Stop face-to-face contact with anyone you don’t live with, wherever possible. Replace physical contact with phone and online contact.
  • Have your flu vaccination, ASAP. Reducing ordinary winter illnesses will help our health system to cope as COVID-19 becomes more widespread in Tasmania.
  • Make sure you know and use personal hygiene and social distancing techniques.
  • If you have ANY cold or flu symptoms, stay home, seek phone advice from your GP or the COVID-19 hotline on on 1800 020 080 and isolate yourself from other household members if possible.
  • Keep up to date with the situation by:

If you are unwell or at risk

Staffing

While we are making some changes to where our disability support staff work and when, current COVID-19 Response Team reviews show that the number of hours our staff work will probably stay the same – or even increase.

Wellbeing

It’s important to look after your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak. You might feel concerned, anxious or distressed about it. You can find some helpful information on the Beyond Blue website.

Staff can access our employee assistance program 24/7. Check the staff hub for details.

You can also download an easy read version of this information.

More information for Li-Ve Tasmania staff is available on the staff hub.


COVID-19 update – 18 March 2020

Your support and co-operation will be very important as we work together to protect our participants. We will contact you in person if the changes below will significantly affect you and your family.

The Prime Minister’s announcement, today

Today, in his announcement about the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Prime Minister’s key points included:

  • an emphasis on social distancing (particularly new restrictions on gatherings, staying 1.5 metres away from other people and continuing with good hand hygiene).
  • arrangements to better protect vulnerable Australians and those in aged care (like limiting visits and using Skype or Face Time instead)
  • Australians are likely to have to change their way of life for at least six months.

The government is working on plans especially for NDIS participants and other people with disability. The Prime Minister will tell us more about this on Friday.

You can see more details on the Prime Minister’s website at: www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures

What we’re doing to protect our people

At Li-Ve Tasmania we continue to be committed to keeping the Li-Ve Tasmania community safe.

This week, we are:

  • reducing staff movements between sites to reduce the chances of COVID-19 spreading
  • looking at day programs and activities – both at Li-Ve Tasmania and with other providers – to work out what’s safe and what may need to be put on hold
  • looking at how to protect participants who are especially vulnerable: this may include moving some participants to different accommodation
  • limiting the number of visitors and the length of visits along the lines of Prime Minister’s aged care guidelines
  • encouraging staff, participants and families to continue with social distancing and good hygiene.

In particular, we’re:

  • sending hand hygiene packs to all our homes and offices
  • putting up posters to remind people about hand hygiene, limiting visits and social distancing
  • making sure staff don’t travel interstate or overseas for work
  • asking that all staff get a flu shot
  • encouraging participants and families to get their flu shots.

We are also paying our staff to complete free online training: Supporting people to stay infection free. Friends, family members and carers may also want to complete this free online training (just click on the link above and register).

If you are unwell or at risk


Staffing

While we may need to make changes to where our staff work and when, at the moment, we think the number of hours they work will probably stay the same – or even increase.


Wellbeing

It’s important to look after your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak. You might feel concerned, anxious or distressed about it. You can find some helpful information on the Beyond Blue website.

For more information, we recommend you:

  • bookmark this page on the Li-Ve Tasmania website and check back regularly
  • make sure we have a mobile number or email address for you – If you don’t have a mobile phone or an email address, you can nominate a family member or friend to receive messages on your behalf. Just let us know by phone on (03) 6227 5400 or email at hello@livetasmania.org
  • visit the Department of Health website at www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert or call the 24-hour hotline on 1800 020 080.

You can also download an easy read version of this information.


Keeping our people safe

At Li-Ve Tasmania we're committed to protecting our people from the coronavirus (COVID‑19).

For example, we’re:

  • paying our staff to undertake training about protecting the people they support
  • limiting staff working multiple sites
  • reducing non-essential services.

We have a COVID-19 response team

This team meets at least weekly to monitor developments, share knowledge and resources, plan actions, check that we’re on track and communicate with you.

Policies, procedures and plans

Our response team has updated our policies and procedures to make sure they fit the COVID-19 challenge. We have also developed a specific COVID-19 plan with extra preparations and precautions. We will adjust these documents if the situation changes.

Download our internal policy (we’re making it available so you can see the framework we’re using to keep our people safe).

How we’re communicating

We’re sending out regular communications about COVID-19 to the Li-Ve Tas community. Because the situation is changing quickly, we’re mostly using electronic communication.

If we usually write to you by post and there is a quicker way for us to reach you – for example, email or SMS – tell us. If you don’t have a mobile phone or an email address, you can nominate a family member or friend to receive messages on your behalf. Just let us know by phone on (03) 6227 5400 or email at hello@livetasmania.org

How you can help

You can help stop the virus spreading in the following ways:

  • if you’re unwell stay home
  • if you think you may have COVID-19, call the 24-hour hotline on 1800 020 080 and self-isolate
  • practice good hygiene, especially regular hand washing
  • keep your distance from others – for example, avoid hugging or shaking hands
  • rather than face-to-face catch-ups, consider using Face Time or other video calling apps
  • if you order food or other supplies, ask that these be left at the door
  • consider limiting group activities and public outings
  • consider getting a flu shot to reduce the risk of respiratory illness for you and your family
  • follow advice from the Department of Health at www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
  • help make sure others understand what they can do to stop COVID-19 spreading – download our easy read information about COVID-19.

If you have questions or concerns about Li-Ve Tasmania and COVID-19, get in touch.

More information

You can find more information on the Department of Health website at www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert or call the 24-hour hotline on 1800 020 080.


Happy to help!

What can we do for you? If you need a hand or more info, get in touch via:

phone on (03) 6227 5400, email hello@livetasmania.org or visit us on facebook