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Following the announcement today by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to implement a ‘shutdown of all non-essential services’ (including schools) our leadership team has met and, following consultation with Board Chair, has decided that –
- Group activities will cease effective at the close of business Monday, 23 March 2020
- We are actively exploring creative means to continue providing support and activities to clients and families in other ways; remote engagement, online activities, 1:1 in some cases and we will be in touch with families to advise of these opportunities as they become available
- We are awaiting further confirmation from official sources as to whether or not our residential services are formally constituted as essential services but are acting on the assumption that they are. On that basis, our residential services will continue with restrictions in place as outlined in my update of 20/3/20
- Bayley House counseling service will remain operating over Skype and families should make contact if they wish to utilise this service while day programs are closed
- The status of our Short Stay service is unclear at this time and we will communicate directly with users of this service as soon as we are able.
I thank you for your support and confirm that Bayley House remains absolutely committed to continuing to provide a wide range of activities and support options for clients and families over the coming weeks. These are challenging times, to say the least, and our primary responsibility, of course, is to the health and wellbeing of clients, families, and staff. Rest assured that we will be back with you with a full range of services as soon as we are able to do so.
The advice from the Health Department has remained largely unchanged. On 18 March 2020, the Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, announced new measures to protect Australians from Coronavirus (COVID-19).
- a limit of no more than 100 people for non-essential indoor gatherings
- a limit of no more than 500 people for outdoor gatherings
- restrictions on visitors to aged care facilities
- restrictions on Australians traveling overseas
At this time, may I remind you that we have no notification of any clients, staff or families who have tested positive for COVID-19. In the event we receive a concerning notification, we will be in contact with DHHS as advised and communicate accordingly with families.
Although the current advice indicates we will remain open, we have been working on arrangements for providing support remotely in the event of a closure. In the meantime, we respect families’ decisions regarding self-isolation, and again I would like to thank everyone for the positive communication with Bayley House. When recording an absence please provide some indication for the reason for the absence. We need to ensure that all absences are accounted for and will be recording them as COVID-19 if appropriate (even if the absence is for precautionary measures).
With consideration of the latest advice to disability services, we have been reviewing all activities for which the organisation has financial commitments. We are not paying further deposits or instalments and we are not making bookings for activities that may result in a financial loss for the organisation. I have been actively working with our local MP Tim Wilson as well as the Minister for the NDIS’ office regarding the need for the Commonwealth and the NDIA to support disability service providers through this challenging issue as we try to support clients and families. I am encouraged by the announcement following yesterday’s COAG meeting which promised additional support for the sector and looks forward to seeing the detail.
Our Board, in coordination with our leadership team, has been working daily on a fluid response plan to the virus and the proposed actions will be shared with you in regular CEO updates such as this, currently distributed on a weekly basis.
Please remember for the safety of our clients, some of whom are extremely vulnerable, that the following measures are in place
- All visits to Bayley House facilities have been restricted to essential only. This includes deliveries from suppliers, staff, friends, and families
- We have adopted a zero-tolerance to any visitors who present with cold or flu-like symptoms. We simply cannot risk the health and safety of our community
- We are working to roster individual staff to each house to prevent staff from working across multiple houses, effective immediately
- We have worked with clients and staff in education regarding the Coronavirus and hygiene prevention strategies
- We have upgraded restrictions to visitors as follows:
Entry to our Homes effective today Friday 20 March 2020
- For the safety of residents and employees and on the advice of the health authorities access is now available for essential visitors only
- Visits will be limited to each resident’s authorised representative or their nominee (two people maximum at any given time)
- Visits to houses will be restricted to specified times which will be advised separately
- Travel outside of the house for residents will be restricted to essential appointments only and preferably accompanied only by staff
- If this is not possible, residents need to be returned directly to the house without attending any other location
- Families may, of course, choose to have their loved one return to live with the family. If this is their choice returning to the house will not be possible until the situation clarifies and will be at Bayley House’ discretion
- We ask you to stay away if you have come in contact with someone who has contracted the Coronavirus, traveled overseas or have felt unwell during the past 14 days
Visitors will be required to
- Visit only with prior arrangement with staff
- Follow the designated sign-in procedure and check in with reception staff prior to entry
- Adhere to our infection prevention and control procedures and practice social distancing (1.5m apart)
- Only visit your loved one in whatever is the identified physical space within (or outside) the house
- Enter and leave directly without spending time in the communal areas or interacting with other residents or staff
We absolutely understand that these procedures are confronting and challenging. We thank you for your support and understanding in helping us keep all our residents safe and calm during these difficult times. Equally please understand that these actions are entirely consistent with Commonwealth guidelines and health authority recommendations and they will be enforced. Any family members who breach these procedures will be unable to visit for the foreseeable future.
There are now over 70 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Victoria and growing. Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews has declared a state of emergency in Victoria, effective from today for four weeks in response to the coronavirus pandemic. At the present time, there remains only one confirmed case in Victoria that may have been acquired through community transmission.
Please let me reassure you that there is still no evidence of a known threat to Bayley House clients, staff or activities.
We continue to monitor the information and advice provided by the World Health Organisation, Commonwealth Department of Health, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Disability Services (NDS), the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NIDS), various Melbourne Disability Service providers and other sources.
Our dedicated crisis committee has been working closely with me to develop the next stage of our prevention action plan with the following updates to services:
- All community-based activities will be put on hold until further notice. Those who can, will be redirected to center-based activities to join appropriate groups
- Some select groups will be given the opportunity to utilise our new Hampton facility to further develop skills in existing programs
- We are limiting visits to day service and residentials to essential only
- We will do our best to maintain continuity of service where we can but with the potential of schools closing and staff self-quarantining, we may be required to re-deploy community-based staff to the center and to any residence in need of support
- As a result of food shortages and issues with hygiene controls, we will be canceling all cooking activities and replacing them with other center-based activities of interest
- We are compiling a registry of people with compromised immune systems and will continue to monitor their health, activities and social contacts on an individual basis.
- We have no plan to close at this stage. However, we are monitoring three key indicators closely; 1. the advice of the expert bodies, 2. the potential shutdown of schools surrounding Bayley House and 3. the unfortunate event that a staff member or client of Bayley House is diagnosed with the Coronavirus
- We also are working on a plan to use remote IT services to enable all corporate services staff to work from home if required.
Other measures already implemented
- Bayley House Staff have been asked to monitor their health and hygiene closely and self-quarantine if necessary, we ask that families do the same and minimise visits to the center where possible
- We have a register of all clients and staff in regards to overseas travel and, where required, will monitor each individual’s health status while in quarantine
- We have been running workshops with the clients around hygiene and handwashing utilising available easy-read resources and signage
- The facilities have a good supply of antibacterial gel and wipes for regular use
- We have contracted our cleaning company to provide an extra shift each day cleaning the bathrooms and common area surfaces.
Further information will be provided soon. Thank you for your understanding and support in the matter.
There are now over 109,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide, with at least 112 in Australia including 15 in Victoria. However, I do want to reiterate once more that there is no evidence of a known threat to Bayley House clients, staff or activities and we continue to monitor major sources to ensure Bayley House follows best practices in prevention and preparation.
According to the Department of Health, the Australian Government considers the following countries to be at higher risk for COVID-19:
- Mainland China
- Republic of Korea
The Australian Government considers the following countries to be at moderate risk for COVID-19:
- Hong Kong
Bayley House is maintaining a registry of staff and clients who have informed us of their recent or pending travels and we will continue to monitor and support people through their safe return to our facilities.
If you have recently traveled to any of the above countries or are in contact with people who have recently returned, we ask that you notify us immediately and if required, isolate yourself for 14 days and seek medical advice prior to returning to Bayley House. We also ask that if you or your loved ones are feeling unwell and suffering flu-like symptoms to please follow the Australian Government’s advice and seek medical advice immediately.
Please help minimise the level of client anxiety by discussing the risks calmly and openly with your loved ones.
For more information about the virus, please visit what you need to know at the Department of Health website. Australians traveling overseas are encouraged to regularly review the Smartraveller website
Thank you for your understanding and support in the matter.
We are aware that many of you are concerned about Bayley Houses’ preparations for a possible outbreak of the Coronavirus in Australia.
I want to reassure you again with this update that whilst there is no evidence of a known threat to Bayley House clients, staff or activities, we are following best practices to plan for the future and to prepare for all possible eventualities.
For your information, the following outlines specifics in stage one of our prevention action plan.
- We are engaging a professional to run a workshop with the clients around hygiene and hand washing
- All bathrooms have signage to prompt clients to wash and dry their hands and staff are prompting everyone to wash hands prior to eating
- All rooms have a supply of antibacterial gel for all to use
- All computer devices will be supplied with anti-bacterial wipes to clean prior to use
- We have contracted our cleaning company to provide an extra shift each day in the Day Program area to assist with cleaning the bathrooms and common area surfaces.
- We will support to communicate clearly and early should they feel unwell.
- We will closely monitor any clients who may be traveling overseas.
- We will issue all staff with access to complete the Disability Services Consulting training module to ‘Supporting People to Stay Infection Free’ more information here.
- We will work with house and transport staff to identify symptoms of any illness early and avoid accepting individuals into the Day Program area who are unwell
- We will closely monitor any staff who may be traveling overseas.
- We ask that you support us in keeping clients healthy and safe by informing us of any current signs of illness and any future travel plans
- We ask that you support us in maintaining the level of client anxiety by discussing the risks calmly and openly with your loved ones.
Thank you for your understanding and support in the matter, we are implementing all of the above and currently working on stage 2 action plan, should the virus present in Melbourne and will keep you informed.
Coronavirus (COVID19) Information
About the Coronavius
- World Health Organisation
- Commonwealth Department of Health
- Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
- National Disability Services (NDS)
- National Disability Insurance Scheme (NIDS)
- Disability Services Consulting (DSC)
How to self isolate
The importance of soicial distancing and isolation
Coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398
If you suspect you may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days.
Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.
How to protect yourself and others
How to prevent the spread
How to wash your hands effectively