Department of Human Services

Accommodation Services Family Update

Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 17 December 2020

Thank you and Seasons Greetings

This year has been like no other, presenting enormous challenges for the entire community to adapt to and work through the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you know, this has meant we in Accommodation Services have also had to be nimble and work with our colleagues, those we support, and of course you, to help keep everybody safe and well.

With the year drawing to a close, we would like to sincerely thank you for your patience and support of our service, particularly as we have implemented necessary changes to manage during trying times.

Your continued support means a great deal to us and our staff, and is greatly valued and appreciated as we keep striving to provide the best possible care and support to your family and friends.

As we look back on 2020, it is pleasing to see how much has been achieved across our service, delivering on our vision to be a high quality, rights based, person-centred organisation with an approach of ‘Everything about you, with you’.

Some of these include:

  • embedding a new structure in Accommodation Services, with new management and supervision
  • moving towards a standard service practice in every home to better deliver consistent quality services in every home
  • adapting to new technology and communication methods with families and each other.

We are hopeful that 2021 will be a more positive and uplifting year for everyone, and we and our staff are excited to continue our work to develop greater consistency in support of individual needs and keep building on service improvements.

Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season for you and your families, and we look forward to connecting with you again in 2021.

More information

Further details about COVID-19 in South Australia are available online.

As always, you can contact us by phoning 1800 952 962 and press 3 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm excluding public holidays) or emailing AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au.

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 3 December 2020

As you may know, a number of changes are coming into effect in South Australia in response to COVID-19.

Please note this information, which impacts you and your family member or friend in our service:

COVID SAfe Check-In Requirements

All visitors and staff to every Accommodation Services site, including individual homes, are required to do a new COVID SAfe Check-In process, created by the South Australian Government. This is to help us provide tracing information to SA Health if required.

The check-in process for Accommodation Services involves:

  • QR codes being supplied to each site for display inside main entries.
  • Staff encouraging anyone arriving to scan the code successfully with a mySA GOV app or smart phone QR code reader (often within the camera app).
  • Visitors who are unable to scan should submit our visitor questionnaire.

The people we support do not need to do this in their own home.

MySA Gov app

The mySA GOV app (available from the App Store and Google Play) has a COVID SAfe Check-In feature that allows users to scan the QR code of places they visit.

The app securely collects limited personal information as you enter a business or venue. Details will be kept for 28 days and only released to SA Health for official contact tracing purposes.

Tracing locations

To remain COVID Safe it is important that we all keep checking SA Health’s contact tracing locations.

If you have visited any of these locations at the times stated, or you have any symptoms, please get tested and quarantine as advised.

Mask direction for disability support workers

All workers delivering supports to people with a disability need to wear a mask while undertaking duties where physical distancing of 1.5 metres between the worker and person cannot be maintained.

We have advised our staff that they should also wear masks in cars, buses and taxis when they cannot physically distance – as well as while on duty in public.

Disposable masks are also being made available on entry to visitors, including families and friends.

More information

Further details about COVID-19 in South Australia are available online.

As always, you can contact us by phoning 1800 952 962 and press 3 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm excluding public holidays) or emailing AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au.

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 20 November 2020

Accommodation Services is working to protect the people we support and each other from the COVID-19 cluster in Adelaide.

For people who were unable to join our online family forum on Wednesday, the one-hour video recording can be viewed below.

Under current circuit-breaker restrictions, the limits on disability and aged care services in South Australia which took effect from midnight Wednesday will now ease on Sunday morning to the arrangements that were in place earlier this week. These are part of South Australia’s COVID-19 response, which is constantly updated.

For now

These restrictions continue to have considerable impact on the way we work and provide support to your family member or friend, including:

Visiting

We are supporting your family member or friend to connect with you using video and phone calls (Zoom, FaceTime and Microsoft Teams are available on the house iPads).

Essential medical or allied-health appointments

We are continuing to support your family and friends with healthcare appointments with allied health professionals.

Exemptions for supporting people outside the home

Our Positive Behaviour Support Team is addressing instances and strategies where there may be serious concern around some people we support.

Community participation is not available - including day activities

All staff are required to wear face masks in the homes if they cannot maintain social distancing requirements.

To best protect the people we support and our staff we are requiring staff wear face masks in homes where they cannot safely distance and while attending to personal care.

Temperature checking

This is not being introduced into homes at this point however staff are being encouraged to stay away from the workplace if they are unwell.

From Sunday 22 November 2020

Visiting

Visiting can resume, however families and friends are encouraged to avoid visiting homes and instead use video calls if possible. If visiting, please book ahead to avoid exceeding the limit of 10 people per home and consider outings in socially distanced open spaces.

Non-essential staff avoid visiting the homes (however rest assured that front-line staff are continuing to provide direct support).

Community participation

Community participation – including day activities – can resume according to providers COVID Safe Plans with appropriate social distancing.

Accommodation Services Visitor Questionnaire is still in place

Everyone, including staff who enter a home must complete this questionnaire at the door to help support any contact tracing.

Staff are continually updated with key information

We are continually reminding our staff of protocols around COVID-19 to follow if they or the people they support are potentially exposed to the virus.

Our service currently has appropriate levels of Personal Protective Equipment for the people we support and our staff if required, and we are reminding staff of the correct ways to use this equipment.

Any staff who may be asked to quarantine or who may live with someone who is required to, are directed to stay home and not attend group homes. Any staff who may have symptoms, no matter how mild, are also directed to stay home and get tested.

Hygiene in the homes

We are strictly maintaining good hygiene measures in the homes, including regular hand-washing, social distancing, frequently wiping down surfaces and avoid touching our eyes and face.

If you feel unwell or experience any symptoms, please get tested.

SA Health is constantly adding to its contact tracing locations. Please review these regularly to assess any potential exposure risk.

The SA Government’s COVID-19 website also provides regular updates on the pandemic and SA Health’s COVID-19 FAQs may also provide helpful information.

We appreciate this is a difficult time for you and your family member or friend. Please rest assured that the health and safety of all people we support, our staff and you are our highest priority, and we are continuing to do our best at this challenging time.

How to contact us

If you have any queries about your family member or friend, you can:

  • contact your Service Coordinator or Team Leader
  • email us at AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au
  • phone us on 1800 952 962 (and then press 3)

If you know another family member or friend who would like to receive this e-newsletter, please encourage them to sign up via the DHS website or phone 1800 952 962.

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Accommodation Services online forum for family and friends – 18 November 2020

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 17 November 2020

Accommodation Services is continuing to be alert to the risks from an outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Adelaide’s northern suburbs since the weekend.

Being alert can help protect the people we support and each other.

We are holding an online forum tomorrow, Wednesday 18 November from 2-3pm, to provide an update on our response to the situation and other key information.

You can join us online tomorrow at this zoom link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86882028276?pwd=OVJwOVJqMVUxcGZhUHhmVGxzK2xIUT09

The forum will also be recorded and uploaded to this webpage.

In addition, here are steps we are taking now in the homes of those we support:

  • Maintaining good hygiene measures including regular hand-washing, social distancing, frequently wiping down surfaces and encouraging people to avoid touching their eyes and face.
  • Supporting your family and friends to attend day activity programs, while strictly maintaining COVID-safe requirements (we are encouraging people we support who access community participation to look to options in open spaces such as parks, and avoid areas with a large mix of people such as shopping centres and cafes).
  • Continuing to support your family and friends with healthcare appointments with allied health professionals.
  • Reminding our staff of protocols around COVID-19 to follow if they or the people they support are potentially exposed to the virus.
  • Ensuring non-essential staff avoid visiting the homes (however please rest assured that front-line staff are continuing to provide direct support).
  • Discouraging public transport use, with anyone who does require it advised to wear a face mask.

Families and friends are encouraged during this time to avoid visiting the homes and to utilise video calls if possible. While you can still visit, please book ahead to avoid exceeding the limit of 10 people per house.

In addition, anyone who visits the homes must continue to complete our visitor questionnaire at the door to help support any contact tracing.

If you feel unwell or experience any symptoms, please stay home and get tested. The SA Government’s COVID-19 website provides regular updates on the pandemic in SA and contact tracing locations of interest. SA Health’s COVID-19 FAQs may also provide helpful information.

To get in touch with us, please phone 1800 952 962 and press 3 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm excluding public holidays). You can also email AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au.

How to contact us

Customer Engagement and NDIS team
Phone 1800 952 962 (then press 3)
Email AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au

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Accommodation Services CCTV Pilot

Update as at 6 November 2020

Accommodation Services is looking into a pilot of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) in two homes of people we support.

As a service, we continually consider ways to improve safety and security for those we support. The steps we take are about protecting their safety and privacy and ensuring that all possible safeguards are in place.

As such, we are acting on the suggestions of some family members and guardians to trial the installation and use of CCTV in our service, to explore the effectiveness of using visual recording in the homes of the people we support.

This also aligns with a CCTV pilot being undertaken at two SA Health-operated aged care facilities at Northgate House and Mount Pleasant Aged Care.

A site in southern Adelaide is being explored for the Accommodation Services pilot, in consultation with those living at the site, their families and guardians and staff.

At this stage, we expect the pilot to run for three months, with CCTV equipment recording at all times in common areas and shared spaces only, and not in personal areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms.

An independent evaluator will be engaged to consider the feasibility, acceptability and quality and safety of the use of CCTV equipment, and whether it could be rolled out across other sites in our service.

We will keep you informed regarding the outcomes of the pilot and next steps.

Documents

Accommodation Services CCTV Pilot Fact Sheet for Families and Guardians (PDF 181.3 KB)

DHS Workplace Devices Surveillance Policy - Under Review (PDF 438.9 KB)

How to contact us

Customer Engagement and NDIS team
Phone 1800 952 962 (then press 3)
Email AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 14 October 2020

Here is the latest issue of the Accommodation Services Family and Friends e-newsletter.

This e-newsletter provides news and updates about happenings in the service, with this issue featuring an update on our new Customer Charter, our ongoing response to COVID-19, and other matters.

If you are the family member, friend or guardian of a person we support in Accommodation Services and don’t currently receive this e-newsletter, please email AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au to sign up.

Introducing our new Customer Charter

We are proud to provide you with the new Accommodation Services Customer Charter. 

You can read the whole document, or the easy read summary poster which was informed by the Client Influencer Group.

Having a Customer Charter is a 'first' for the service, and outlines what the people we support and their families and guardians can expect around service delivery and consistency. In essence, it is about living up to our vision of 'Everything about you, with you' and our pursuit to be a high-quality, rights-based and person-centred service.

We have shared the Customer Charter extensively with our staff, and encourage you to read it and come back to us if you have any questions by phoning 1800 952 962 or emailing AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au.

COVID-19 response update

While some COVID-19 restrictions have eased in South Australia, our service remains vigilant to ensure the people we support and our staff stay safe and well.

There is still a strong focus on social distancing and good hand washing, sneeze and cough hygiene.

If you would like to visit your family or friends in their homes, please do so in small groups and adhere to social distancing. Do not go to the houses if you feel unwell or expect your family member or friend to visit you. All visitors to the houses must also complete the Accommodation Services visitor survey with staff at the door for tracing purposes.

Your Service Coordinator or Team Leader are here to help if you have any queries.

Family forums and house meetings

In light of social distancing challenges for larger groups posed by COVID-19, we will be continuing to hold Family and Friends Forums online for now.

These forums are a good way for us to share information about what is happening in the service and for you to ask us questions in real-time. The forums are also recorded and added to this webpage.

We intend to hold the next online forum within the next month and will provide details soon.

In-person meetings are also important, and we know that many of you are taking part in the house meetings that the Capacity Building Officers are facilitating in partnership with house staff. Please keep engaging this way if it suits you, as family and guardian input at initial house meetings has already proven to be valuable. The Capacity Building Team will continue to contact you about future meetings.

For more information about the house meetings, contact Team Leader, Capacity Building Tobias Olsson on tobias.olsson@sa.gov.au or 0434 924 740.

Welcome to new leaders

Accommodation Services welcomes two new key appointments to our leadership team. 

Our new Assistant Director, Accommodation Services is Mark Perry. Mark started with us in March and brings a wealth of experience working with vulnerable communities across not-for-profit and government. He is working closely particularly with our Area Managers to deliver enhanced services.

Also new is our Manager, Quality and Practice, David Healey who joins us after many years working with groups including people with disability and in the mental health space. David has a wonderful skills mix spanning complex case management, clinical supervision and cognitive behavioural therapy.

We are very excited to have Mark and David on board, and will talk more about both leaders and their roles at the next family forum.

Our service areas one year on

It has been nearly one year since we implemented a key part of our service re-shape.

On 25 November last year, we commenced a new structure in Accommodation Services to help bring us in line with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and introduce a more contemporary level of service.

This change saw service areas increase from five to seven, and new staff structures put in place to provide greater support to staff in the houses - in turn, helping to offer a better level of care to your family member or friend.

Overall, this is about delivering a wrap-around service where we put the people we support at the centre of all we do, living up to our service vision 'Everything about you, with you'.

Client Influencer Group update

The Client Influencer Group, or People's Advocacy Group, has had some recent 'wins'.

Members celebrated the group's first-year anniversary at a morning tea in September with Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink, and Muriel Kirkby.

Some members of the group also joined our executive management team at a recent workshop to share their personal accounts of what a day in the life of a person with disability is like. Members will also become mentors to our managers, helping them to better understand client perspectives when making decisions.

If you think your family member or friend would like to join the group, or even get involved in a meeting to see what it is about, please email AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au

Reminder: NDIS plan review changes

We recently wrote to you about some changes around scheduled National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan reviews.

To re-cap, the process for scheduled plan reviews for the people we support is changing. Key contacts like yourself will now receive a 'check in' phone call from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) about one month before the plan's expiry date, to check if you are happy with the current plan or if changes need to be made.

It is important that you are aware of the support needs of your family member or friend, and if changes are required to their NDIS plan. 

Your Service Coordinator will contact you in the lead-up to the plan review date so you can be prepared to receive the phone call from the NDIA. If you would prefer, you can direct the NDIA to your Service Coordinator instead.

If you have any questions, please contact your Service Coordinator. You can also phone us on 1800 952 962 or email AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au.

Information about equipment repairs

There will soon be changes to the way some clients’ mobility and support equipment is fixed or maintained.

Those we support who are National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants will no longer have their equipment repaired by the Domiciliary Equipment Service (DES). Instead, equipment repairs will be booked directly with other repairers.

As part of the changes, DES has also transferred ownership of equipment that NDIS participants currently hold to them for free.

These changes and alternative arrangements are being communicated to our staff and affected clients. We will also provide further information to affected clients' families and guardians over the coming weeks.

If you have any questions, please speak to your Service Coordinator. You can also find out more by visiting the DES website.

Have your say on Supported Independent Living

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released a consultation paper to seek feedback on proposed improvements to Supported Independent Living (SIL).

The consultation paper and process, which is open until 19 October, will help address administrative and cost challenges to SIL, while making the first of many steps to create a greater focus on participant choice and control.

The NDIA is inviting a range of people, including those receiving SIL supports and their families, to make a submission. To do this, or for more information, visit the NDIA website.

How to contact us

If you have any queries about your family member or friend, you can:

  • contact your Service Coordinator or Team Leader
  • email us at AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au
  • phone us on 1800 952 962 (and then press 3)

If you know another family member or friend who would like to receive this e-newsletter, please encourage them to sign up via the DHS website or phone 1800 952 962.

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 9 September 2020

This is a follow up to an update from 12 August 2020 about alleged serious incidents in our service involving a former disability worker, Arjun Kandel.

Mr Kandel has been arrested and charged with sexual assault offences. He is no longer an employee with us.

Today, Mr Kandel appeared in court and did not enter a plea. The next court appearance will occur on 27 January 2021.

Our main concern is the safety of everyone we support. Any steps we take will always be about protecting their safety and wellbeing and ensuring that all possible safeguards are in place.

The department is continuing to cooperate with police during their investigation. While we want to share as much information as we can with you, we’re limited in what can be shared as the matter is before the courts. We will share further information as soon as we are able to.

How to contact us

The department has established a dedicated phone service for you.

Family members and guardians who have any questions or concerns can phone us on 1800 952 962 (dial 3).

For any other matters about your family member or friend’s needs, please continue to speak directly with your service coordinator.

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Helpful information:

Australian Government Social Distancing Guidance (PDF 180.6 KB)

Australian Government Social Distancing Guidance (DOCX 144.7 KB)

Useful information / contacts

Australian Government

SA Health

Accommodation Services

NDIS

South Australian Government

  • South Australia COVID-19 Information Line: Phone 1800 253 787 (9.00 am to 5.00 pm daily)
Page last updated : 23 Dec 2020

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