Department of Human Services

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Accommodation Services Family Update

Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 29 October 2021

This month we have been working to ensure our service and workforce is prepared for the next stage of the State Government COVID-Ready Plan.

In particular, all staff have been advised of their requirement to be vaccinated when entering a healthcare setting and we are working with our staff to ensure this mandate is fulfilled.

Stage 2 of our NDIS Quality and Safeguarding audit begins on the 8th of November. This is the second of two audit stages required for Accommodation Services to become a fully registered NDIS provider. There will be one week of interviews with both staff and people supported by Accommodation Services, who have already been notified of their involvement.

We have recently welcomed David, Stuart and Veronica to our team of Area Managers. As you will see below, they each bring such valuable experience and knowledge to their roles, and we are very fortunate to have them as leaders in our service.

As always, please speak to your Service Coordinator or Team Leader if you have any questions. You can also contact us on 1800 952 962 (then dial 3) or via email AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au.

COVID-19 vaccination mandate

With border restrictions easing, it is increasingly important that we are each doing what we can to prevent the spread and severity of COVID-19. Last week, all Accommodation Services staff have been directed to receive their first dose of an approved vaccine by 1 November 2021.

We have made this direction in response to the State Government Health Direction, requiring anyone who carries out work in a health setting to be vaccinated. Whilst most of us do not work in a hospital or clinic, staff regularly enter health care settings in the course of their duties and will need to be vaccinated to do so.

We continue to place a high importance on the safety and care of the people we support. We are working diligently to ensure continuity of care for the people we support, throughout changing conditions.

We also encourage all family, friends and visitors to be vaccinated. High vaccination rates in the community help to protect those around us who may not be able to receive a vaccination.

Book a COVID-19 Vaccination | SA Health

Upcoming NDIS Audit Interviews

Accommodation Services is progressing steps towards Certification with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Stage 2 of the audit will examine the effectiveness of our systems and processes to ensure we are able to meet the NDIS Practice Standards. This will take place from th 8th to the 12 of November. An external auditor will be interviewing people supported by Accommodation Services, as well as frontline staff and senior management.

Those who will be interviewed have already been informed. This involves 25 people supported by Accommodation Services and 30 staff members, across 14 locations.

If you would like any more information about the audit process, please see the contact details at the end of this email.

Client Fees Update

Thank you to everyone who participated in our August Family Forum sessions and made enquiries and provided feedback during the Client Fees Proposed Structure consultation process.

A number of queries were made about how electricity, gas and water expenses are paid for now and how this will be managed in the future. This is a component of the information DHS is working through to include in a final structure.

All information collected through the consultation period will now be assessed to inform the final structure. We know that these arrangements will take a number of months to finalise and we will keep families updated on progress of this work.

Welcome to our new Area Managers

Accommodation Services welcomes three new Area Managers to our team. We are very happy to have these experienced leaders on board.

Veronica Stanley - Area Manager, Playford and Kadina

Veronica has joined the Playford and Kadina team, with a background as a developmental educator and Social Worker with extensive experience in the disability service and ageing sectors. Most recently Veronica has been working in the Australian Government’s Home Support Program and has also previously worked for DHS in disability services.

David Berlin - Area Manager, Charles Sturt

David has some 11 years of experience in multiple client-facing and leadership positions in Accommodation Services. Striving to have a positive impact in the community and disability services sector, David has stepped into the role of Area Manager of Charles Sturt.

Stuart Smith - Area Manager, Marion

Stuart joins the Marion team after extensive experience in the not-for-profit disability services sector, not only in South Australia but metropolitan and regionally based positions in multiple states and territories. Stuart has a strong focus on providing equity of access to support services, particularly for vulnerable communities.

Accommodation Services supports Angela to feel safe and create her home

Last year was a difficult 12 months for Angela who experienced four different service providers prior to being admitted to hospital for an extended period. It was during this challenging period that Angela’s mental health deteriorated rapidly.

Having now transitioned to her own home, with support from Accommodation Services, Angela’s wellbeing and outlook has improved dramatically.

“It is the first time in five years that I feel safe and secure, valued and listened to, with a reason to live — I feel like a person again,” she said.

Angela has been able to make her house a home with colourful murals painted on the walls and doors in every direction.

Client Influencer Group meets new staff

During their recent meeting, our Client Influencer Group spoke at the Disability Services Officer Induction Training taking place in the room next door. They were able to explain the importance of their advocacy work to staff and hear about why this group of new staff wanted to work in Accommodation Services.

The Client Influencer Group has been a very successful model of engagement and advocacy to allow people we support to have a voice in the service they receive. Our service supports regional South Australians as well and we are looking at ways to expand the Client Influencer Group model so that more people we support can participate in the future.

Wayne also paid a visit to the new staff at the beginning and end of their Disability Dynamics training. He assisted Facilitator Janet and told the new recruits that his most important message was to talk to the people you are supporting. They are the ones who know what they want and need. Great advice Wayne!

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

Youngcare Home Support Grants

The Youngcare Home Support Grants provide essential funding to help people to either remain living at home with some more help, or to return to the community from inappropriate housing such as aged care.

Up to $20,000 is available in extreme situations for essential equipment, home modifications and services, household items and utilities to ensure an increase in the individual’s quality of life.

This grant aims to bridge the gap in essential services where there is clear evidence of need, or during the transitional period while individuals gain access to the NDIS.

Youngcare Home Support Grants

SACID Peer Action Crews

Peer Action Crews are a place for people with intellectual disability to come together for fun, friendship and to work on small community-based projects that work towards a more inclusive community.

All Crews are led by a Peer Action Leader with intellectual disability, supported by an SACID Project Officer. There’s plenty of activities to choose from, with a book crew, an action group, social catch ups and an online crew.

Peer Action Crews – South Australian Council on Intellectual Disability | SACID

How to contact us

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

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

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 10 September 2021

Update to Accommodation Services Client Fees Proposed Structure for consultation

Last week families and friends received through preferred means (email or mail) the Client Fees Proposed Structure (PDF 371.5 KB), which is currently being consulted on until Friday 17 September 2021.

An incorrect email address was included on page 7 of that document, to send questions and feedback during the consultation process. The email address was included correctly within the email and letter.

Here is the updated document with correct email address AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au now included.

Here is the Client Fees Proposed Structure (PDF 371.5 KB)

How to contact us

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

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

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 1 September 2021

Accommodation Services Client Fees Proposed Structure for consultation

Accommodation Services has undertaken a review of Client Fees in 2021 and we are now consulted on a Proposed Structure about Client Fees.

Client Fees are how people supported by Accommodation Services pay for their everyday living expenses. It is usually paid through their Disability Support Pension (DSP).

There are currently 11 different fees, plus individually negotiated arrangements, which means people pay different amounts for the same everyday living expenses. A proposal has been developed from the review process to provide clarity and equity for people supported by Accommodation Services.

Here is the Client Fees Proposed Structure (PDF 371.5 KB)

If you have any difficulties downloading the PDF file, please contact us using the details below.

Deadline for consultation

The consultation process is open until 5.00 pm on Friday 17 September 2021. We have increased the consultation period by one week, providing more time for you to have your say.

Family Forums in August provided an opportunity for family members and guardians to ask questions about the proposed structure.

Family Forum webinar recording from Tuesday 24 August 2021

How to contact us

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

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

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 16 August 2021

Reminder: August Family Forums

Accommodation Services Family Forums begin this Friday, 20 August 2021.

The forums will provide you with an update on COVID-19 response and vaccinations, and specific information about the 2021 Client Fees Review including a Client Fees proposal for consultation.

For the first time since 2019 there will be opportunities to attend an in-person forum. All forums will cover the same content, so you only need to attend once. The webinar option will also be recorded and available on our website to view at a suitable time for you, if you are unable to attend.

Family Forum Metro South

Friday 20 August 2021 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Flinders Room, Tonsley Hotel, 1274 South Road, Tonsley

Please RSVP by phoning 1800 952 962 (press 3) or emailing accomfeedback@sa.gov.au.

Family Forum Metro North

Monday 23 August 2021 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Starlight Room, Sfera’s Park Centre, 191 Reservoir Road, Modbury

Please RSVP by phoning 1800 952 962 (press 3) or emailing accomfeedback@sa.gov.au.

Family Forum Webinar

Tuesday 24 August 2021 from 2.00 pm to 3.00 pm
Link to enter the Zoom meeting

Please check your letter for the Zoom passcode, or phone us on 1800 952 962 (press 3)

Thank you to everyone who has already sent in an RSVP.

How to contact us

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

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

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 28 July 2021

Continuity in service delivery

In 2020, we committed to becoming a fully registered NDIS provider, enabling us to continue providing Accommodation Services on an ongoing basis. This was positive news, providing greater certainty for your family member or friend supported by Accommodation Services. Implementation of processes and activities for service sustainability are now well underway.

Activities to allow Accommodation Services to be sustainable in the future have meant we have provided a great deal of information and communications to you in 2021.

This has included:

  • asking you to consider the introduction of Service Agreements for NDIS participants, and
  • taking part in audits against the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework.

Consent processes for first and second dose COVID-19 vaccinations added to the consents we sought from you.

Setting up the organisation as a fully registered NDIS provider with sustainable systems and structures into the future means we will continue to provide you with information, and in some cases, seek consent for service changes in the future. This important work means your family member or friend will have continuity in their service delivery in the future.

Client fee review

A review of Client Fees has been underway in 2021, as we outlined to you earlier in the year.

Client Fees are the items and services supporting everyday living, where payment has been coordinated by DHS.

Examples of these items and services include:

  • food
  • furniture
  • electricity
  • telephone bills.

Likely your family member or friend pays for these items through their Disability Support Pension.

Currently there are 17 different fee schedules across our service. This means people pay different amounts for Client Fee items.

Objectives of the review include the introduction of a fee schedule developed in consultation with clients and families to make paying for items and services simpler and fairer.

Family forums to discuss client fees

Three forums have been set up to support you, to enable all families and guardians to hear more about the review process, and to provide an opportunity for you to voice your views on items and services that should be included or excluded within Client Fees.

For the first time since 2019 there will be opportunities to attend an in-person forum. All forums will cover the same content, so you only need to attend once. The webinar option will also be recorded and available on our website to view at a suitable time for you, if you are not able to attend any of the following times:

Family Forum Metro South

Friday 20 August 2021 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Flinders Room, Tonsley Hotel, 1274 South Road, Tonsley

Please RSVP by phoning 1800 952 962 (press 3) or emailing accomfeedback@sa.gov.au.

Family Forum Metro North

Monday 23 August 2021 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Starlight Room, Sfera’s Park Centre, 191 Reservoir Road, Modbury

Please RSVP by phoning 1800 952 962 (press 3) or emailing accomfeedback@sa.gov.au.

Family Forum Webinar

Tuesday 24 August 2021 from 2.00 pm to 3.00 pm
Link to enter the Zoom meeting

Please check your letter for the Zoom passcode, or phone us on 1800 952 962 (press 3)

Information from Accommodation Services over the next 6 months

You can expect to hear more from us about the following activities in 2021:

  • Stage 2 of the Audit against NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework
  • Introduction of Service Agreements for those funded by Disability Support for Older Australians (previously known of Continuity of Support)
  • Changes to restrictive practices laws in South Australia and what that means for people supported by Accommodation Services
  • Changes to the Supported Independent Living rosters

You are receiving this message based on your listed, preferred communications method. If that does not represent the way you now prefer to receive information, or you have any questions about the information included in this letter, please phone 1800 952 962 (and press 3).

Joe Young
Executive Director
Disability Services

Muriel Kirkby
Director
Disability Services

How to contact us

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

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

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 20 July 2021

COVID-19 Update – July ‘stay at home’ order

With today’s South Australian Government announcement of a seven-day stay at home order, we would like to update you about what this means for your family member or friend and staying connected with them.

As we know from previous 'stay at home' orders in 2020, the purpose is on social distancing to help protect the health of the people we support and to keep them safe.

We also want life to continue as normally as possible for them, with opportunities to maintain a routine and stay connected to their family and friends.

The following visitor and activity restrictions come into place from 6.00 pm tonight

  • If your family member or friend has visitation included as a specific aspect of their care plan, we will work with you to arrange visits in a COVID-safe way
  • If you family member or friend doesn’t have visitation included as a specific aspect of their care plan, but there is an emergency, we will again work with you to arrange visits in a COVID-safe way
  • Non-essential activities outside the homes are limited. Where a scheduled activity is available, we will organise for your family member or friend to be transported in a COVID-safe manner to the activity.

When visiting, COVID safe measures include

  • Wearing a face mask
  • Undertaking social distancing measures, and
  • Not attending if you are feeling unwell.

More information about face masks and their use from the SA Health website.

Please speak with the relevant Area Manager to help us manage these visits safety for the people we support.

Ways to stay connected and provide routine for the people we support

  • FaceTime and other video calls as well as telephone calls
  • The Positive Behaviour Support team are implementing ways to assist with challenging behaviours, including individual outings to activities that remain open, and safe and appropriate alternate locations
  • Ensuring people who work continue their daily routine in a COVID-safe manner
  • Undertaking activities within houses to keep the people we support engaged and positive in their outlook.

We will keep you up to date with information as it becomes available.

If you have any questions about visiting or about your family member or friend during the stay at home order, please email AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au or phone 1800 952 962 (and press 3).

Joe Young
Executive Director
Disability Services

Muriel Kirkby
Director
Disability Services

How to contact us

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

For now, we are also providing updates on the Family Update webpage.

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

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 19 July 2021

Welcome to our July 2021 edition of the Accommodation Services Family and Friends e-newsletter.

2021 continues with pace, as Accommodation Services progresses to become a fully registered NDIS provider with updated systems and processes, so that our service is here, supporting your family member or friend, into the future.

As a service, Accommodation Services came about many years ago from the merger of other government disability services (like Julia Farr Services and the Intellectual Disability Services Council). This history means that we have expertise in supporting people with highly complex needs. As we continue to provide state-run disability accommodation services on an ongoing basis, there is a need to bring a consistency of structures, systems and processes together, along with being a fully registered NDIS provider.

We acknowledge that we have provided families with a great deal of information this year, and sought a number of consents, as we progress these activities. It is important that you are involved and informed about the changes happening in our service. 

Shortly you will receive more information from us about the Client Fee Review that has been undertaken. Currently there are 17 different fee schedules across our service. This means people pay different amounts for Client Fee items. 

A clear objective of the Client Fee Review is been to make paying for items and services to support everyday living, simpler and fairer.

In August, we want to hear your views and thoughts about how Client Fees can be fairer for the people we support. For the first time since we have been responding to COVID-19, we will hold Family Forums in person.

Please save the following dates:
*    Family Forum, metro-south location, Friday 20 August 2021
*    Family Forum, metro-north, Monday 23 August 2021
*    Family Forum, webinar, Tuesday 24 August 2021

Location and webinar details will be provided shortly. We look forward to the opportunity to meet with you in-person and via webinar, next month.

Joe Young
Executive Director, Disability Services

Muriel Kirkby
Director, Accommodation Services

COVID-19 response and vaccinations

Thank you for your understanding and adapting to South Australia's recent tightening of COVID-19 restrictions over the past few weeks, when visiting your family member or friend.

We are in a period of time when restrictions are regularly changing. As of midnight tonight, masks must be worn for all high-risk settings and in shared indoor spaces where distancing can't be maintained. Additionally, there will be caps on private activities to 10 people.

To manage the 10 person cap in homes supported by Accommodation Services, staff can coordinate online meetings and phone calls and if you are planning to visit in person, please call ahead to support staff stagger visits. All visitors will be required to wear a face mask.

At this time, we understand that day activities continue with the non-government sector, run under their COVID-Safe plans. Participants will need to wear face masks.

Updated directions announced by the South Australian Government today will be published later this evening on the sa.gov.au website.

Information about restrictions for those who have recently travelled interstate can be found on the SA Health contract tracing webpage. 

Now that it has been confirmed there is community transmission of COVID-19 in South Australia, it is so important that we all remain vigilant against the spread of COVID-19. Please continue to scan QR codes when visiting your family member or friend, follow COVID-safe practices, get tested at any sign of COVID-19 symptoms and please don't attend an Accommodation Services supported home if you are feeling unwell.

We know that increasing COVID-19 vaccinations is one of our strongest protections from outbreaks of COVID-19, like what is being experienced in Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland.

We are pleased to advise that 402, of approximately 500 people supported by Accommodation Services, are now fully vaccinated. An additional 21 people have received their first dose. This is based on receiving GP and family or guardian consent to provide vaccinations.

Accommodation Services continues to provide the AstraZenca vaccination to staff through our own clinic at Highgate Park and is working with SA Health and staff to support those who require the Pfizer vaccination. This work continues to remain a priority of DHS.

Court appearance of a former disability worker

Last year we told you about the arrest of former disability worker, Arjun Kandel, for alleged sexual assault offences and committed to keeping you informed as new information becomes available. 

Last week, Arjun Kandel appeared in the Adelaide District Court where he again entered pleas of not guilty. While there will be ongoing legal discussions later this year, a trial date has been set for 11 April 2022. It is expected to run for seven days. 

While this continues to be a very difficult situation, our peak concern remains the safety of everyone we support and ensuring all possible safeguards remain a priority. 

If you have any questions or concerns relating to this matter, our dedicated phone service for families and guardians remains available on 1800 952 962 (dial 3), or you can email us at AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au

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

New Accommodation Services office in Adelaide’s north

Accommodation Services is in the process of consolidating a number of offices and opening a new, larger office in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

From Monday, 12 July 2021 we begain operating from our new office at Mawson Lakes.

Mawson Lakes office

Endeavour House Module 1
11 Fourth Avenue
Mawson Lakes

Cheltenham and Salisbury Offices

From Monday, 19 July 2021 staff from our Cheltenham and Salisbury Office will be joining our Mawson Lakes office.

The office telephone numbers are no longer in use. You can speak with your family member or friend’s Service Coordinator directly, by contacting them on their mobile number.

If you do not have a mobile number for the Accommodation Services staff you regularly speak with, please phone 1800 952 962 (and press 3).

Area change for people supported in Kadina

The responsibility of area management for Kadina has now shifted to the more closely located Playford Area Manager, Wayne Cunningham, and Team Leader, Adam Phillips.

Our Team Supervisor in Kadina stays the same with Rachel Toribio, coordinating with fellow Team Supervisor Paula Goller.

If you would like to speak with Wayne or Adam in the future and don't have their contact details, please call 1800 952 962 (and press 3). Our Team will be able to provide contact phone and email information.

NAIDOC week celebrations

NAIDOC Week is held in July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

A barbecue with friends and families was held on Sunday 18 July 2021, at one of the houses supported by Accommodation Services in Adelaide's western suburbs.

Muriel Kirkby and Accommodation Services staff were very pleased to be invited and share in this important week and gathering. Thank you for a wonderful afternoon.

Team Supervisor leadership forums

Last week Team Supervisors in Accommodation Services completed their second day in the latest series of leadership forums.

Around 100 Team Supervisors have been joined by Accommodation Services Director, Muriel Kirkby and Assistant Director, Mark Perry, to hear about a broad range of activities being undertaken and participate in workshops to support their leadership roles. These included the future of Accommodation Services, NDIS updates, restrictive practices and development opportunities.

Our leadership sessions continue, as we progress our reforms to become a fully registered NDIS provider and align our service model to these changes.

Huntington’s Coffee

There was a slithery surprise for one of the men we support at his regular coffee catch up.

Chris enjoys Huntington SA & NT's 'Coffee and Co' support group event for people with Huntington's.

It's a weekly session to chat, eat and enjoy the company of those who have shared experiences with the disease. No one realised that new activities each week would lead to meeting a tree python called Baby, but Chris' interest alongside his sister, Mignon, was obvious!

More information about the sessions at Glandore is available on Huntington SA & NT's website.

How to contact us

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

For now, we are also providing updates on the Family Update webpage.

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

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 15 July 2021

New Accommodation Services office in Adelaide’s north

Accommodation Services is in the process of consolidating a number of offices and opening a new, larger office in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

From Monday 12 July 2021, we began operating from our new office at Mawson Lakes.

Mawson Lakes office

Endeavour House Module 1
11 Fourth Avenue
Mawson Lakes

Cheltenham and Salisbury offices

From Monday 19 July 2021, staff from our Cheltenham and Salisbury Offices will be joining our Mawson Lakes office.

Phoning members of staff

The office telephone numbers are no longer in use. You can speak with your family member or friend’s Service Coordinator directly, by calling them on their mobile number.

If you do not have a mobile number for the Accommodation Services staff you regularly speak with, please phone 1800 952 962 (press 3).

If this matter raises concerns for you or you have questions please let us know.

Phone 1800 952 962 (press 3)
Email AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au.

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 17 June 2021

Update: Disability Royal Commission

Last week the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability held a hearing in Adelaide providing an important opportunity for families, sector representatives and agencies to share their experiences.

A number of staff from DHS and Accommodation Services also participated as the commission focused on State Government delivered disability services, and the lived experiences of people with disability. It is a very important process, welcomed by our department.

Today South Australia has some of the strongest safeguards for people with disability ever enacted in this state, but there is still more that can be done to ensure the people we support continue to feel safe and happy in our care. We look forward to any recommendations the Commission may make to improve policies, structures, and practices to ensure a more inclusive and just society.

Our establishment of the Zero Tolerance to Abuse and Neglect Strategy as part of the new Practice, Quality and Safeguarding Framework, increased education for staff on how to recognise and report suspected abuse and neglect, and a pilot project to install CCTV cameras in homes are just some of the steps we have taken to increase the safety of people we support.

In becoming a registered NDIS provider and continuing to deliver our service in the future, we have committed to strengthening safeguarding systems and practices, combined with initiatives that empower people with disability to be active and recognised contributors in their community. Any recommendations provided by the Royal Commission will add to this approach.

If you have questions or feedback about issues raised during this week’s Royal Commission hearing, as well as about systems and reforms relating to the safety of your family member or friend supported by Accommodation Services, we welcome your interest. Please find our contact information below.

Additionally, the Blue Knot Foundation, the National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma, is a specialist counselling support and referral service and is providing free support for those impacted by issues raised by the Royal Commission.

Phone the Blue Knot Foundation’s National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468

Hours:

  • 9.00 am – 6.00 pm AEST Monday to Friday
  • 9.00 am – 5.00 pm AEST Saturday, Sunday and public holidays

Industrial Action in Accommodation Services

Today, the department received notification from United Workers Union (UWU) that industrial action is taking place within Accommodation Services. It relates to a whole-of-government enterprise bargaining process.

Industrial bans proposed do not affect the duty of care to people we support.

DHS is working with Accommodation Services staff and UWU to ensure that this action does not impact client safety.

Staff have been clearly reminded that bans cannot impact the duty of care to people we support and this must be considered first, before any other issue.

If this matter raises concerns for you or you have questions please let us know.

Phone 1800 952 962 (press 3)
Email AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au.

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 8 June 2021

Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

Yesterday, the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability commenced a public hearing in Adelaide at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

The focus of the hearing is on preventing and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in disability services in South Australia. The Commission is hearing from families, experts and government staff.

Some of the information shared may be very difficult to hear, and we acknowledge and respect the courage it takes for individuals and families to share their stories. It’s vital to shine a light on the experiences of people with disability and the practices of a sector that has undergone major changes over recent years.

The Royal Commission is dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of people living with disability, and this is a purpose we wholeheartedly share. While we regularly make improvements to our service that enhance the safety and wellbeing of our clients, the department looks forward to receiving any recommendations the Commission may make about our service specifically, or the disability sector broadly.

We will continue to share updates with all our clients’ families and guardians about this week’s public hearing in Adelaide. If you have any questions or concerns about the services your family or friend receives from us, please do not hesitate to contact your service coordinator or anyone in management (including us).

All public hearings of the Royal Commission are recorded and streamed live on the Royal Commission website, and have live captioning and Auslan-English interpreters.  Blue Knot Foundation offers free, specialist counselling support for anyone affected by the Disability Royal Commission or you can contact your service coordinator if you require any extra support from us.

For further information on the Adelaide public hearing, you can visit the Disability Royal Commission website.

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive, Department of Human Services

Joe Young
Executive Director, Disability Services

Muriel Kirkby
Director, Accommodation Services

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 4 June 2021

Welcome to another instalment of our Family and Friends newsletter. 

Next week, the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will conduct a public hearing in Adelaide from Monday 7 June 2021 at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

The focus of the hearing will be ‘preventing and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in disability services (South Australia)’.  

In case you’re not aware, the Disability Royal Commission was established in April 2019 in response to community concern about widespread reports of violence against, and the neglect, abuse and exploitation of, people with disability.

The Royal Commission is an investigation, independent of government, that will examine the experiences of people with disability and make recommendations to government about what should change.

It is vital to shine a light on the experiences of people with disability and the practices of a sector that has undergone major changes over recent years.

It’s for this reason that the Department of Human Services welcomes this investigation and is very supportive of the Commission’s work.

The safety and wellbeing of people living with disability is of the utmost importance and, while the disability sector is making real progress, there is still a long way to go and we look forward to considering any recommendations the Royal Commission may make about our service.

All public hearings of the Royal Commission are recorded and streamed live on the Royal Commission website, and have live captioning and Auslan-English interpreters.  

For further information on the Adelaide public hearing, you can visit the Disability Royal Commission website

Joe Young
Executive Director, Disability Services

Muriel Kirkby
Director, Accommodation Services

COVID-19 visitor restrictions

Our thoughts are with everyone affected by Victoria’s COVID-19 outbreak as the community works together to bring it under control.

This has prompted South Australian Government restrictions that prevent entry to disability support settings, including the homes in which we offer support, by anyone who has been in Victoria since 20 May 2021. This restriction applies to individuals for 14 days following their arrival in South Australia.

While Victoria’s lockdown and the travel restrictions applied at our borders have reduced the number of potential visitors or staff coming in from Victoria, we must remain vigilant as we work to provide a safe home for the people we support.

COVID-19 vaccination update

Another COVID-19 vaccination clinic has been held this week for Accommodation Services staff in the over 50s category.  We also are continuing to seek details from staff aged under 50 who have booked in for vaccinations through SA Health’s clinics.

More than 420 of the people we support have received their first vaccination. As we approach the recommended 12 week waiting period between doses, further clinics are now being planned for those needing their second dose.

Guardians and primary contacts will be contacted soon to confirm plans for the second dose.

Meantime, we will continue to work with our frontline staff, helping navigate any needs to enable vaccine bookings, including, where necessary, outside of rostered shifts for which they can claim an hour’s pay.

Tracey Gibb's choice and control in action

A well-known and much-loved identity, supported by Accommodation Services for almost 20 years, is embracing the choice and control offered by her transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Tracey Gibb experienced a rare brain stem stroke 19 years ago, leaving her with locked-in syndrome (meaning she can’t move her body, speak or have facial expressions). Tracey previously lived with institutionalised support at Highgate Park. This week she welcomed an exciting new freedom, shifting into her own new CBD apartment where she also continues her job with an enthusiastic outlook.

Tracey is spearheading what is possible for people with disability. She has flourished, winning last year’s Stroke Foundation Courage Award, judging this year’s awards and pursuing an open university degree.

Now Tracey has implemented, along with her re-location, a new support model for which she has interviewed and chosen all of her new support staff. This provides her the comfort of having the right mix of support around her to pursue the next big adventures on her radar.

Becoming a fully registered NDIS provider

This year, we have been in contact with you regularly about changes to our service that will allow us to continue supporting your family member or friend in the future.

As way of update, we expect auditors to visit our houses and meet with the people we support, their family members or guardians and staff over the next few months. This will complete Stage 2 of the NDIS Practice Standards and Quality Indicators Certification Audit.

As outlined previously, a review is underway of client fees relating to meals, utilities, communal furniture, whitegoods and general household consumables. A consultation process with the Accommodation Services Client Influencer Group will begin shortly. We are also in the process of organising family forums. You will be invited to take part. This will be an opportunity to learn more about the review process and give your thoughts and views on client fees and opportunities for improvement.

Over the second half of 2021, work continues, including transitioning the eligible people we support to the Australian Government’s Disability Support for Older Australians (DSOA) funding program, which replaces the Continuity of Support (CoS) program.

If you have any questions about our process to become an NDIS provider, please speak with your family member or friend’s Service Coordinator. Alternatively, you can call 1800 952 962 (and press 3).

Family satisfaction survey is coming

Accommodation Services is planning to conduct a family satisfaction survey in coming months.

It will seek input from key family and friends and discuss the services we provide. We look forward to circulating the survey as soon as it’s prepared.

Disability support traineeships

The second group of DHS Accommodation Services’ new trainee disability support workers have finishing their introductory training as part of a two-year South Australian Government budget initiative to deliver 175 trainees across Adelaide, Mount Gambier and Kadina.

The recruits have been allocated homes, along with a mentor, where they continue their training experience. They are also spending one day off-site per week to achieve their certified qualification at the end of twelve months.

Up to 85 roles will be filled this year with more recruitment rounds to follow in 2022.

Have Your Say – strong safeguards

People with disability, their carers and those who work in the disability sector can have their say on the regulation of restrictive practices in South Australia.

New laws passed by the South Australian Parliament last month allow for the establishment of an authorisation regime for ‘restrictive practices’, a term that describes a wide range of practices that may restrict a person’s human rights.

New regulations are now being developed to guide the application of the law, and all South Australians are invited to have their say.

South Australia’s new laws support the use of appropriately measured and ethical practices to better support people with disability and ensures that restrictive practices are only used as a last resort.

This is an important step in achieving South Australia’s commitment to reducing and eliminating the use of restrictive practices over time.

Public consultation on the regulations is open now and will close on 2 July 2021.

After the regulations have been developed, further public consultation will take place on the development of restrictive practice authorisation guidelines.

More information on South Australia’s restrictive practices legislation on the DHS website.

Report it Right – disability media guidelines

Input is also being sought on new guidelines designed to help journalists and other media professionals better engage people with disability.

A state-wide consultation has opened on the new ‘Report it Right’ guidelines – developed by the Department of Human Services with input from leading South Australian print, television and radio journalists, people with lived experience of disability and disability advocates.

It’s anticipated the guidelines can support members of the media and other content creators to report stories in an inclusive way, shifting perceptions of what it means to live with disability.

As active members of our community who make positive contributions in a wide variety of ways, they deserve to see themselves reflected in the media as such.

The guidelines provide advice and inclusive language tips such as using "lives with disability" rather than "suffers from".

Read the draft ‘Report it Right’ guidelines and provide feedback

A song and dance

We enjoyed seeing some delighted housemates at two of the homes supported by Accommodation Services when last week they were entertained by emerging performance group, I-Caspa.

The troupe of singers and dancers arranged a visit to their shared homes, after forming as part of an NDIS community participation initiative.

The group set up a stage area in the backyard and the sun shone making it a perfect day for a concert on the lawn.

By all accounts the show was a hit and the performance group proving to be a real confidence builder for all involved.

Legislation introduced to improve supports for NDIS participants at risk of harm

The Australian Government has introduced legislation that strengthens the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner’s powers to improve supports for NDIS participants.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Improving Supports for At Risk Participants) Bill 2021 builds on actions already taken by the Quality and Safeguards Commission in response to the review by Hon Alan Robertson SC.

The Robertson review was commissioned by the NDIS Commissioner, to examine the adequacy of the regulation of NDIS services provided to Ms Ann-Marie Smith, an NDIS participant who died tragically in April 2020.

This Bill will support the implementation of essential changes in response to a number of the Robertson Review recommendations which required legislative changes. It strengthens the Commissioner’s compliance and enforcement powers, clarifies provider registration provisions and enables effective information sharing.

Complaint handling

The people we support in Accommodation Services as well as their families, friends and guardians, have several options through which to provide feedback and complaints.

Details for anyone wanting to give specific feedback for Accommodation Services are on the DHS website. This site also includes external reporting avenues if families and friends are wanting to go beyond complaints within the department or Accommodation Services.

Additionally, DHS has developed and published online a formal Accommodation Services Complaints and Feedback Procedure for use by our staff, to support the safety and well-being of the people we support. Anyone interested in the procedure is welcome to download it from the DHS website.

How to contact us

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

For now, we are also providing updates on the Family Update webpage.

If you know another family member or friend who would like to receive this e-newsletter, please encourage them sign up on the DHS website or phone 1800 952 962 (dial 3).

Alternatively, to discuss the Service Agreement further, you can speak directly with your Service Coordinator or contact us.

Phone 1800 952 962 (dial 3)
Email us at AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 6 May 2021

Consent for NDIS Certification Audit, second COVID-19 vaccination and Service Agreements

Please read on for more details on these key points:

  • Opting in or out now for auditors possibly consulting you in our process of becoming an NDIS Provider
  • Information about further consent requirements for second COVID-19 vaccine dose
  • Service Agreement follow up occurring for agreements not yet returned.

NDIS Certification Audit

During April 2021, Accommodation Services started the certification process in becoming a fully registered NDIS Provider by being assessed against the NDIS Practice Standards & Quality Indicators.

To date, Accommodation Services has continued to deliver services through an in-kind funding arrangement with the Commonwealth Government. Not as an NDIS provider. To continue providing services to your family member or friend in the future, we need to become a fully registered NDIS provider and therefore successfully completing this audit, is required.

The audit is undertaken in two stages. The first, a desktop process during April which successfully reviewed documents, platforms and processes. The second stage will see auditors visit our service, assessing the work that we do and how we do it throughout that week.

Auditors would like to speak with some of the people we support as well as their family members and guardians about their experiences of the service they receive. Additionally, they will be viewing documents that include information about your family member or friend.

Opting in or out

If you want to be involved in speaking with auditors, we would like to accommodate this, if we can.

Alternatively, if you do not want yourself, or the person we support, to be part of this audit process please advise in writing to the contact details below, by Tuesday, 18 May 2021.

Email accomfeedback@sa.gov.au
Write to: DHS Accommodation Services, GPO Box 292, Adelaide SA 5001

if you have not advised Accommodation Services by Tuesday, 18 May 2021 that you want to opt out, you will automatically be included in the scope of the audit and you may be asked to speak with auditors.

For further information about the certification audit or opting out process, please get in touch.

Phone 1800 952 962 (dial 3)
Email us at AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au

Second COVID-19 vaccination

During March and April 2021, the people we support received their first COVID-19 vaccination, subject to consent. Those in Mount Gambier have also received their second.

Changes in public health advice about COVID-19 vaccines, since that time, means that we need to confirm that your family member or friend:

  • did not have an adverse reaction to the first dose of the vaccine
  • is still consenting to the second dose, and
  • that consent is recorded on an Australian Government consent form, instead of the SA Health form used for the first vaccination.

Public health advice also states that the second vaccine given must be the same type as the first (that is, AstraZeneca or Pfizer).

If the vaccination process has not yet started for those:

  • 50 years or older, the AstraZeneca vaccination is the nominated vaccine and can be administered by the Accommodation Services vaccine clinic.
  • below the age of 50 years, the Pfizer vaccination is the nominated vaccine and will be administered through the SA Health delivered program.

A General Practitioner can only recommend a vaccination different to the SA Health nominated age group vaccine.

Accommodation Services will be administering the second doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination through our vaccination clinic in mid-June 2021 and staff will be in contact with you shortly, with further information and to begin the consent process.

Service Agreements update

Thank you to the families and guardians of NDIS participants we support, for your time in considering and consenting to Service Agreements.

Their introduction is an important part of the process for Accommodation Services becoming fully NDIS registered. Each time there is a significant change to your family member or friend’s NDIS Plan in the future, a new Service Agreement will be required.

If the consent process for your family member or friend’s Service Agreement has not yet been completed, please return the signed Agreement to your Service Coordinator.

Alternatively, to discuss the Service Agreement further, you can speak directly with your Service Coordinator or contact us.

Phone 1800 952 962 (dial 3)
Email us at AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au

Questions and feedback

If you have any questions or concerns relating to this matter, our dedicated phone service for families and guardians remains available.

Phone 1800 952 962 (dial 3)
Email us at AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au

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 : 29 Oct 2021

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