Bulletin 8

April 2020

Working together

Lutheran Services has the wellbeing of our residents, clients and staff at the forefront of our response to COVID-19. As an organisation that provides care to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, we are here to support them.

As a department of the Lutheran Church of Australia Queensland District, we are remaining vigilant to Government directions, containment strategies and prevention procedures across all retirement living, residential aged care and community services sites.

Below is an update of the measures we have most recently put in place for our service streams.

We understand that these measures will have impacted on our clients lives and we thank them for the positive reactions we have seen so far.

Resilience and flexibility has been required by everyone in adapting to these tough circumstances and everyone’s patience and commitment as we work together to contain this outbreak is much appreciated.

COVID1-19 Update

No Lutheran Services site has reported any confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Our response team

Our Response Team is implementing the Emergency Response and Continuity Plan and continually developing the necessary operational crisis plans Each of our services have also been implementing their own site-specific action plan.

We are ensuring our robust infection control practices and procedures are being followed and adhering to any other recommended requirements.

We are keeping all of our Aged Care, Home Care, Retirement Living and Community Services clients informed with updates of what they need to do to stop the spread, as well as our actions to keep them and our staff safe.

Residential Aged Care Services

In line with a Queensland Government directive on 21 March, Lutheran Services implemented restrictions to visitors in some of our aged care services, depending on the site requirements.

Please talk to your site manager about arranging an approved visit if permitted.

If permitted, our residents can have an approved visit per day from family or friends for care and support purposes only.  The visit can be by one or two people and not last longer than two hours.

Before you enter our aged care home, you must:

  • sign a health declaration.
  • have your temperature taken
  • supply evidence that you have been vaccinated against the flu.

People cannot enter our homes if they:

  • are aged under 16 years
  • have been overseas 14 days ago or less
  • have had contact with someone with coronavirus
  • have a temperature of over 37.5 degrees or respiratory symptoms
  • do not have an up to date influenza vaccination

There are some exceptions to these laws. If your loved one needs end of life support, the legislation says that the restrictions on the numbers and ages of visitors may be waived.

Click here to go to the Australian Government’s Department of Health for all of the information regarding this directive.

Exploring connections

As COVID-19 related access restrictions escalate at our services we would like to enable our residents to stay connected with the people they love and enjoy.

So we are exploring ways to keep them connected with their family and friends whilst also maintaining a sense of wellbeing.

Some of the things we are working on are:

  • Increasing the use of technology to help residents communicate with their loved ones.
  • Offering alternative on-site social activities that limit exposure.
  • Continuing a business as usual approach to our exercise programs to keep moods boosted.

We are doing all we can to protect our residents, staff, students and volunteers.  Together we have the opportunity to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection.

Community Services

Lutheran Services employees have been working to ensure all our Community Services clients and families feel supported as we respond to the  COVID-19 pandemic.

We have moved away from Group Based programs and Community Access programs to face to face In-Home support for the time being.  The NDIA is ensuring that client funding will continue while using this new model of support.

The NDIS has advised of the following changes:

  • Plans Extended – To enable client’s support services to continue, the NDIA have extended plans for an additional 365 days, so they do not expire
  • Temporary Price Increases – Effective 25 March 2020, NDIS has increased prices by ten percent to be borne by the government, for some Core and Capacity Building supports for a six month period, with a review to be held in three months
  • New Service Agreement – A new service agreement and quote will reflect the temporary price increases
  • Transport – General and Activity Based – these prices are changing too
  • Support Coordination – Clients have the flexibility to use their Core Support or Capacity Building funding for new or additional support coordination services

Further information on the above changes has been communicated individually to all of our clients. NDIA information can be found at www.ndia.gov.au or via phone on 1800 800 110 or please feel free to contact your service.

Retirement Living

We would like all of our retirement living residents to remain safe during this COVID-19 pandemic.  We would also like them to know that we are here to support them.

Unfortunately we have had to cancel our group activities and close communal areas for the duration of this public health emergency.

On Sunday 29 March 2020, the Government recommended that any person over the age of 70 should self-isolate and stay at home.

We understand these measures are very restrictive.  Our Home Care staff are available to help with grocery shopping or online technology should our residents need it. This is usually available via fee for service, or Home Care and Commonwealth Home Support Program options depending on funding available. To enable more people to access assistance during this time the government have relaxed some of their funding approaches. We suggest you talk with your Service Manager for more information.

Home Care

To keep our home care clients and employees safe, our staff are implementing hygienic and other procedural measures before they visit people’s homes.  One of those is to call each client before they visit to ensure they are well and are not feeling any symptoms.  Our staff are available to help clients with grocery shopping or other means of helping them stay in contact with the outside world and their friends and families should they request this.

Information Links

The health and safety of our residents, clients and their families and our staff is, of course, paramount and we thank you in advance for your cooperation and support as we navigate this situation.

If you would like to request further information on Lutheran Services’ response to the novel coronavirus please contact your local service manager or email me directly at contact@lutheranservices.org.au.