23rd March 2020
To all our valued clients, families and carers
I am writing to provide you with an update on actions taken by Blairlogie Living and Learning in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Blairlogie is taking advice from the health experts and relevant authorities. At this time Blairlogie believes it is critical to keep its doors open to support clients, families and carers. While it is not business as usual, we will continue to provide essential supports. Services may be modified as required but at the time of writing this letter I have no intention of a complete shutdown unless ordered to do so by the authorities.
Blairlogie does not come under the regulations of education settings and therefore are not required to comply with announcements made in relation to schools.
We believe the additional precautions we are taking, and have been taking for a period of time, are responsible and appropriate in these times.
I understand that these are challenging times for us all and I would like to acknowledge our amazing staff, who have been working calmly and methodically through this time and providing outstanding support to our clients. The incredible sense of community that has long been a feature of Blairlogie continues to shine bright even in times of uncertainty. Just as importantly I would like to thank you for your continued cooperation, kindness and understanding. Things are changing rapidly and I think it is vital that we continue to always treat each other with respect and courtesy.
Blairlogie recognises and takes very seriously the role we must play in slowing the spread of coronavirus. We also recognise and take seriously the vital role we play to not only our clients but to the families and carers that rely and depend on Blairlogie for services and supports.
It is a delicate balancing act and we are doing our very very best to navigate our way through these times. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that our clients and their families continue to receive the essential disability services they need, while at the same time fulfilling our social responsibility to ensure we are following the advice put out by the authorities.
The Blairlogie Executive Team has again met today to consider further action needed after a raft of government announcements over the weekend. Below is the detail of what we are implementing:
Transport – we will continue to provide our pick up and set down services as we consider this an essential service for families. If you are able to assist in the transport to your family of loved one this would be truly appreciated. If this is something you can do please contact Bianca on 59 78 79 00.
Vehicles will still be available to be used during the day as has always been the case.
Day Services – we will continue to operate our day services as we consider these an essential service not only for our clients but also families. As you are no doubt aware there are a number of venues that we were using last week for activities that are not available this week. In those instances, where venues are not available we will arrange suitable alternatives. Lili and Shannon are currently looking in more detail at how group activities will look in this new era of social distancing. We will then develop more detailed plans around what exactly our ‘modified’ day services will look like – what activities we can offer to how many people and at what locations.
We are also encouraging all clients to bring a packed lunch each day.
Residential Services – our residential services have been impacted to with some residents seeking alternative accommodation with family during this time. Others are opting to not attend their day service and require additional supports to be delivered at home. Teena is currently looking at a model of service that would see social and community participation supports being delivered in different settings.
Additional Service offerings – We have decided this morning that Clubhouse and meet Me @ will be suspended until further notice effective immediately. Respite at Scott’s Cottage and Holiday programs will continue because they are an essential service relied on by families and carers.
Mini Breaks and Winter Formal – The mini break scheduled for April and the Winter Formal scheduled for May will be postponed. We will provide further communication on this as details are finalised.
So a little on social distancing – I am predicting that the term ‘social distancing measures’ will appear in the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (along with other pandemic related sayings). As we have heard often, social distancing is our best defense against slowing the spread. Therefore, we will be ensuring we are following this advice. We have put up signs on the doors of each of our spaces that we use here at North Road for activities. These signs will let everyone know the number of people that are able to occupy the room at any given time under the 4 square metres per person regulation. Staff are responsible for enforcing the rules.
NDIS response – It was heartening to read the weekend press release from Minister Roberts outlining the NDIS response to the crisis. The key points are:
NDIS plans to be extended by up to 24 months, ensuring continuity of support and increasing capacity of NDIA staff to focus on urgent and required changes to plans.
Face to face planning shifted to telephone meetings where possible.
Action plan to ensure NDIS participants and their families continue to receive the essential disability supports they need.
Proactive outreach to high-risk participants and sharing of data with states and territories to ensure continuity of supports.
Financial assistance to providers to support retention of workers including advance payments, 10 per cent COVID-19 loading on some supports and changes to cancellation policies.
We all have a responsibility to protect our community, particularly those who are most vulnerable, and we must be extremely vigilant and ensure that:
Everyone entering our sites follows strict infection control and hand hygiene practices. Hand sanitizer is available for use.
Should anyone have been in contact with a person who has a confirmed or suspected case of Coronavirus, or who has declared that they have travelled overseas recently, please advise management immediately.
Adhere to self-isolation rules issued by the Department of Health
If you have recently been ill, have symptoms of any respiratory illness (fever, sore throat, cough, muscle and joint pains, tiredness/exhaustion), have been in contact with someone who is ill or if you are at risk if you become infected yourself, we strongly advise you NOT to visit any of our facilities.
Finally, I would like to encourage you to get in touch with us if there is anything we can support you in during these very difficult times. Please do not hesitate to contact me on 59 78 79 00 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Executive Officer