Last updated 07/05/2020
This page does not provide medical advice. If you are concerned about your health, or the health of somebody you support, please seek medical attention or contact the Australian Government’s National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. If the situation is an emergency or you are struggling to breathe, please call 000.
All of this information is correct at the time of writing, but the nature of a public health crisis is that it is a fast-changing environment. We strongly recommend following the links provided below for the most up to date information.
Essential Personnel would like to ensure you that at this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working hard behind the scenes to make sure we can continue to support you in the safest possible way.
We are developing alternative solutions and ideas on how we can continue to provide support to you and your family at this time, even if it looks different to how you have received supports before.
Essential Personnel will continue to implement precautionary measures, as advised by the Department of Health and Essential Personnel’s COVID-19 Response Plan, to help minimise the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
Our priorities responding to COVID-19 are:
- Ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our employees, volunteers and customers;
- Focusing on providing our customers with high quality services as far as practicable;
- Taking actions to support slowing the community spread of the virus where there appear to be outbreaks, so that the most vulnerable people are able to get the care they need; and
- Closely assessing the impact of COVID-19 on our communities and identify ways to safely extend support to those in need.
Be rest assured, if staff/volunteers have recently travelled from high risk countries or show flu like symptoms, they are asked to stay at home until they have been medically cleared. At present, no Essential Personnel employees, volunteers, contractors or clients have been confirmed to have COVID-19, nor have any Essential Personnel offices been subject to known exposure.
All staff have received additional infection control training and have personal protective equipment available.
- All services and supports are still running, however, we are assessing any potential risks to customers and staff and this could lead to alternative ways in which we provide the services and supports.
- All external activities in the community have been cancelled as per government regulations. Alternative supports and services will be discussed with each individual customer.
- If any particular service must be cancelled, we will work with the customer to find a solution, an alternative method of contact or another service provider.
- All skills centres and Marwick house will follow social distancing rules. This includes limited staff and customers at any one time. Please enquire with your Program Coordinator for more information.
If you have any further questions please contact your local office for the most up to date information on our services and changes.
All changes and decisions have been based on information from the Government and Essential Personnel’s COVID-19 Response Plan.
Alternative ways we can continue to support you (EASY READ):
Fun ways we can support you while avoiding COVID-19:
NDIS Price Guide Changes
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has made several changes to ensure you continue to access plans and supports when you need them in a safe way. Some changes include:
- 24-month extensions to plans
- NDIS planning meeting to be done over the phone
- Flexibility in accessing coordination of supports
The NDIS has also made several changes to enable registered NDIS providers to continue to deliver services. Essential Personnel has chosen to implement these changes effective from the 25th March 2020. These include:
- 10% temporary increases in price limits
- 10 days cancellations notice period
- Increased access to Support Coordination
Please find more information at ndis.gov.au/providers/price-guides-and-pricing.
What can you do?
The most useful thing we can all do to help prevent the spread of this virus is to follow basic health precautions. Please watch the video below for more information.
If you or someone you live with are unwell or have flu-like symptoms, or have travelled to high risk countries, currently mainland China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea, you should tell your Support Worker or Coordinator as soon as possible and seek advice from a medical professional.
If you have any questions please contact your Support Worker or Coordinator.
Mental Health Support
You can now have Medicare rebated telephone session with mental health professionals, providing they meet the telehealth criteria (see ‘Accessing health services’).
Beyond Blue has some advice for people about protecting their mental health during the outbreak.
There are also phone services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People can call for themselves or to get advice about someone else.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Kid’s Helpline 1800 55 1800
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Easy Read links:
A number of organisations have produced Easy Read information on the coronavirus. Here are a couple of great ones we have found:
The Council for Intellectual Disability has developed three Easy Read documents: Staying Safe From Coronavirus, Viruses and Staying Healthy and Look After Your Mental Health in Coronavirus.
This can be a scary time for everyone, particularly people with disability and their families. But together with vigilance and compassion we can get through it. By looking out for one another and following the right health precautions, we can keep ourselves and the community safe.