CEO Update 28 April

CEO updates

Welcome back to Term 2! 

I hope you enjoyed a break and had the opportunity over Easter in particular to enjoy the remarkable Melbourne Autumn weather.  Those of you who know me well will appreciate that I am very much a Summer person (I hibernate for Winter) but who could not enjoy the crisp mornings and balmy days we have had these last few weeks.  The glorious weather has coincided with Melbourne slowly but surely coming back to life in a clearly not ‘post COVID’ environment, but certainly one in which COVID is beginning to take second place, for the first time in two years, to our social engagement as a community.  No doubt there will continue to be some bumps along the way but the trend is positive.

Easing Restrictions

The State Government last week removed most of the remaining COVID restrictions impacting on the general community.  For clarity these changes do not affect Bayley House; directions from government for the disability sector are separate to the main announcements and regularly are not released for some weeks following the general changes.  Once this guidance has been shared by Government the Bayley House leadership team will consider the issues and families will be advised of any changes to existing arrangements.  I do urge you, whatever the processes in place, if any client has any symptoms of ill health, please do NOT attend day service.

Further to the above it is worth considering that as we move into the tertiary stages of the pandemic, Bayley House will move to reflect as much as possible the broader community practices and norms.  I have no doubt that, even if it is not in the next few weeks, we will see day services delivered without masks (unless individual clients or staff prefer to wear them) in the not too distant future.  I know you appreciate that throughout the last two years we have continually juggled the need for protective practices with a commitment to minimise the restrictions imposed on our clients and trust that your confidence as we move forward will remain undiminished.

NDIS Funding

No doubt you are aware of the increased media around the NDIS, in particular as the federal election campaign gains momentum.  Many participants are experiencing a reduction in the size of their funding package, often with a lack of explanation or reasonable rationale.  Regrettably this has been our own observation of many Bayley House families’ experience of late.  We are aware that on occasion families receive a telephone call from an employee of the NDIA and what transpires, sometimes inadvertently, is a review of the participant’s package.  Please be aware that it is your right to require a face to face planning meeting/review.  I strongly urge you not to permit a review to happen by means of a telephone call.  If you are uncertain, you should consider indicating to the caller that circumstances have changed since the last package and that you need to prepare for a face to face meeting.  You might then call your support coordinator (if you have one) or Janet Batey, Director, Client Support and Advocacy on 0401 181 153 for assistance.

Client Goals

On a positive note, we have a very exciting project on the go which focuses on improving the recording, measurement and reporting of client goals so that clients, families and Bayley House all have a clear understanding of what is being achieved and what is required.  One of our leading disability specialists, Tess Hens, has been seconded to drive this important piece of work commencing with the review of every client’s goals to ensure that they genuinely reflect individual aspirations. Tess brings knowledge and experience to the project gained through the Community Fellowship she is currently undertaking at the University of Melbourne focussed on assessment, self-assessment, Dance and Creative Arts Therapy and the NDIS.  At some stage in the future the team will be in touch with families to discuss how this will help your loved ones and I encourage you to make yourself available when the time comes.

Family and Friends

Finally, the Family & Friends group meets on the first Wednesday of the month to share thoughts and experience as well as to provide support for families and for Bayley House clients.  I attend these meetings and very much value the opportunity to share what is going on as well as get both feedback and ideas about what and how we can do better.  During COVID the Family & Friends group has met at Classic Residences in Brighton East.  The group meets at 11.00 and a terrific lunch is available afterwards (at own cost) which I attend.  Please consider joining the group as a way to share information as well as provide me with your thoughts.  The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday May 4th 2022.  Please let Pat Calver (0407 684 272) or Margot Broadway (0417 506 468)  know if you intend to attend and advise if you will be staying for lunch.

Take care and stay safe.