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Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Updates And Information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – updates and information

Last updated: 26 March 2020

We would like to acknowledge the significant impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on communities and individuals across the world. Our thoughts go out to those who have been directly impacted by this crisis.

At Growing Early Minds the health and safety of clients and families accessing our services is our most important priority. However, as an essential service we also recognise the importance of being open for business and continuing to provide our clients and families access to quality comprehensive therapy services and programs.

Given the rapidly changing nature of COVID-19 in Australia, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide you with updates here on this page if circumstances change.

Therapy operating hours and service delivery

Growing Early Minds remains open for business, both in-clinic and mobile for existing clients.

We have strengthened our capacity to deliver alternative service types including:

  • Telehealth – Our therapists are all experienced in conducting your therapy sessions through digital platforms.
  • Home Visits – Our therapists are able to bring the therapy service to you in the comfort of your own home. As always, therapists will be exercising strictest practices in relation to sanitisation and hygiene.

As schools are currently still open, we will be business as usual and carry on until advised otherwise.

We want to ensure that we continue to provide our clients and families with the highest quality of service during this challenging period. We encourage you to speak with your therapist about developing an individual service plan for your child so we can continue to meet their needs.

School holiday programs and workshops

We have changed the format of our Parent Workshop to a webinar series, running over 5 days (2hrs/day). Now you can participate in the comfort of your own home!

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel our other April school holiday programs which included; Lego Club, Clever Kids, Language & Literacy and Handwriting.

Familylinks Playgroups

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel all Familylinks free supported playgroups. However, we are currently in the process of putting together virtual playgroup programs so we can continue to support children, families and our community. We’re aiming to announce plans next week, make sure you’re following Familylinks on Facebook for all the latest news.

Steps we are taking 

The health of you and your family is what’s most important.  We wanted to share how we as an organisation are prepared and taking the necessary precautions to allow us to continue to operate in a safe way. The following protocols are being implemented and followed:

  • Providing families access to alternative therapy options such as Telehealth. A Telehealth session involves using technology on the phone or computer to video conference via Zoom, Skype, Facetime etc. We encourage you to speak to your therapist about exploring this as an alternate option.
  • Providing therapists with additional resources to increase the capacity of home visits. We encourage you to speak to your therapist about exploring this as an alternate option.
  • For all face-to-face appointments (in-clinic and mobile sessions held at home/childcare/school/playgroup/other), our therapists will be conducting an over the phone COVID-19 Prevention Screener prior to your appointment. This screener is to ensure the health and safety of your child, you the parent or carer, and the therapist.
  • Distributed our therapy team to work either remotely or from selected clinic/site locations. The number of therapists per site has been capped. This step is to ensure the health and safety of our therapy team so we can continue to deliver essential therapy services to our clients and families.
  • Provided therapists with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to use during face-to-face therapy, where required.
  • Mandatory hand washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and/or sanitiser at the start and end of each therapy session, which includes the therapist, client, and others present in the session. This applies to both in-clinic and mobile sessions (home/childcare/school/playgroup/other). If attending an in-clinic appointment, please speak to reception or your therapist for the location of the handwashing station.
  • Mandatory wipe down using anti-bacterial wipes (where available) or soap and water on all touch/contact surfaces at the end of each session. For mobile sessions this will occur both prior to and following each session.
  • Mandatory cleaning and sanitising of all toys, equipment and resources between each client or use. All used items will be stored separately to clean resources.
  • Increase in cleaning and disinfecting other frequently used surfaces including furniture, workspace desks, tables, doorknobs, light switches, iPads, card machines etc. We will also keep clinic rooms ventilated with as many windows as open as possible.
  • We will be removing the shared toys and books in the waiting rooms. Please bring your own waiting room activities if required and avoid sharing.
  • Ensuring that we are complying with all instructions from relevant NSW & Commonwealth Health agencies.

What you can do

The Department of Health has advised that people should practice good hygiene and social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

If you or your child is unwell and/or displaying respiratory illness such as fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath, please do not attend your appointment by following Growing Early Minds Cancelation Procedure and seek early medical help.

If you have travelled internationally recently, we ask that you please contact us to reschedule your appointment(s) or attendance at playgroup. This is in line with the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period that is now in place for all international travel.

If you or your child is diagnosed with the virus please notify Growing Early Minds immediately at support@growingearlyminds.org.au. This will allow us to implement the appropriate strategies to notify other families, services and the public health unit.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) 

NDIS has implemented some changes in response to the current environment surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic:

Change in Pricing

  • Effective 25 March 2020, price limits for some supports have been increased by 10% temporarily. Some of the relevant support prices changes are as below:
NDIS Support Support item number Price (before 25 March 2020) Price (after 25 March 2020)
Assessment, Recommendation, Therapy And/Or Training (Incl. AT) – Other Therapy 15_056_0128_1_3 193.99 213.39
Dietician Consultation And Diet Plan Development 12_025_0128_3_3 193.99 213.39
Assessment, Recommendation, Therapy And/Or Training (Incl. AT) – Psychology 15_054_0128_1_3 214.41 235.85

NDIS Cancellations

  • Effective 25 March 2020, participants will be required to give 10 business days’ notice for a cancellation if they want to avoid paying the full fee for a cancelled service. Previously, participants were required to give two business days’ notice.
  • From 30 March 2020, cancellations will be charged at 100% of the session price if the notice of cancellation is provided within less than 10 business days. Previously, cancellations were charged at 90% of the session price.

NDIS Plan Expiry/Reviews

  • If participants have a scheduled plan review, the NDIA will contact the parent/carer by phone or email for the review.
  • As part of your plan review process, participants can discuss having a new plan in place for up to 24 months.
  • To ensure participant plans don’t end, on the day a plan is due to expire, the plan will be automatically be extended by 365 days.
  • Participants who have plans that expires soon, do not need to do anything to have their plans automatically extended by 365 days.

NDIS COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Participants

  • NDIS has released a NDIS COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Participants that explains what to expect from your NDIS providers, your rights, how to make a complaint about a provider, what resources are available from the NDIA, and where to find more information and resources about COVID-19. You can access it here.

Rescheduling or canceling your therapy appointment

If you need to reschedule or cancel your appointment, please follow the Growing Early Minds Cancelation Procedure. However, please note the recent NDIS Cancelation changes as outlined above.

Questions

Our professional team at Growing Early Minds are ready to answer any questions you may have and develop a service plan to ensure that we can continue to meet your child’s service needs during this period.

Please contact us if you have any questions or queries.

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