Department of Human Services

Accommodation Services Family Update

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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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 22 April 2021

Welcome to another instalment of our Accommodation Services Family and Friends e-Newsletter.

Since the last edition in January, we have introduced Service Agreements across our service for NDIS participants.

Service Coordinators have been speaking with you about the importance of these documents and consent.

The Service Agreement rollout is a part of our work to allow Accommodation Services to be a sustainable service as an NDIS provider in the future and also a service of choice, placing the people we support at the centre of everything we do.

To date, we have continued to deliver Accommodation Services through a funding arrangement, called in-kind funding, with the Commonwealth Government. Not as an NDIS provider. The in-kind funding arrangement finishes on 30 June 2023 and we must be operating as a fully registered, compliant NDIS provider by this date, to continue providing services to your family member or friend.

The next step on our path to becoming an NDIS provider is undertaking the NDIS Practice Standards & Quality Indicators Certification Audit. In late April 2021, independent auditors will be reviewing documents, platforms and processes. Later in May 2021, the audit continues with auditors being in our service, assessing the work that we do and how we do it.

During this second stage of the audit, auditors will be speaking with the people we support as well as their family members and guardians, about their experiences of the service they receive. Further information as well as information to opt-out of participating in this audit and future audits, will be sent to you directly.

We will continue to keep you informed about each stage of the process to become a fully registered, compliant NDIS provider. This includes keeping you informed about associated projects that are shaping our service to be sustainable, into the future.

A review of client fees relating to meals, utilities, communal furniture and whitegoods and general household consumables is currently being undertaken and a consultation process with families to clarify and streamline these fees will begin in mid-2021.

Regardless of how your family member or friend receives funding for care and support, whether that be through the NDIS, MyAgedCare or Continuity of Support (CoS), Accommodation Services can continue to be their supported independent living service into the future.

Update on court appearance of disability worker

Following the arrest last year of former disability worker, Arjun Kandel, we committed to keeping you informed as new information becomes available. 

Today, Arjun Kandel appeared in court again and pled not guilty to sexual assault offences. The next court appearance has been scheduled in the District Court on 16 July 2021. 

While this continues to be a very difficult situation, our paramount concern is the safety of everyone we support, including your family member or friend. Any steps we take will always be about protecting their safety and wellbeing and ensuring that all possible safeguards are in place.

Sale of Highgate Park to benefit people living with disability

You may have heard in the news lately that after extensive consultation, Highgate Park, formerly known as the Julia Farr Centre, will be sold. Any proceeds from the sale will be used to help people living with disability, through the trust that owns the site. 

Many South Australians will fondly remember Highgate Park as their former home or workplace, so this sale is a significant and historic one for our community. 

The decision to sell Highgate Park was made following thorough and extensive independent community consultation with people living with disability and disability experts.  

Many of you were made aware of the consultation process and we would like to thank any of you who did participate for your valuable contributions. 

Anyone who is passionate about how any proceeds from the sale are spent by the trust are encouraged to express an interest in being part of the Trust working group. This working group will be formed to consider the future focus of the trust and provide advice to the Minister, as the sole trustee, during the sale process. 

JFA Purple Orange – the non-profit disability advocacy organisation which was formed out of Julia Farr Services - will facilitate the group, allowing people living with disability to have an authentic voice in how any proceeds from the sale should be spent.

Read more about the Highgate Park sale or complete an expression of interest

Update on traineeship recruitment

There has been an overwhelming response to Accommodation Services’ call for disability support trainees since it was announced by Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink in March 2021. 

To date, the recruitment drive has attracted more than 300 applications and the first 16 trainees chosen after a stringent evaluation process will start their training next week. 

The traineeships are being offered over the next two years under a South Australian Government Budget initiative, with a $9.5 million commitment to deliver 175 trainee disability services officers over two years across Adelaide, Mount Gambier and Kadina.  

This will create both an employment boost and increase in workforce availability at the end of the traineeships, assisting Accommodation Services to deliver more consistent support to people living with disability. 

Up to 85 roles will be filled in the first year of recruitment. More rounds to follow in 2022.

COVID-19 vaccination update

We are happy to report that all the people we support, who had provided their consent at the time, received their first COVID-19 vaccination during the months of March and April.  

Prior to the beginning of the vaccination clinics Accommodation Services staff have asked for consent for clients to have both COVID-19 vaccinations. We are now obliged to check that your family member did not have an adverse reaction to the first dose of the vaccine and are consenting to the second dose. Accommodation staff will be in contact with you shortly to undertake this consent process for the second COVID-19 vaccination. 

It is to be noted that no one showed any adverse reactions and we will continue as planned with administering the second dose. 

Mount Gambier Accommodation Services staff and the people they support have received their second vaccination. These were administered through the Limestone Coast Local Health Network at the Mount Gambier Hospital hub. 

The effort to get all our staff members vaccinated against COVID-19 is well under way with dedicated vaccination clinics at Highgate Park for our Adelaide Metro staff, as well as access to vaccination clinics at the Women’s and Children’s hospital. 

Throughout the coming months we will be rolling up our sleeves to help protect everyone we support as well as our wider communities in the pursuit of more normal community involvement, celebrations and travel since the pandemic began.

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 our complaints and feedback page. This 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 (PDF 420.1 KB) 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.

Update on Restrictive Practices  policy changes

In January this year, DHS undertook a public consultation process about proposed changes to restrictive practice laws in South Australia.

A restrictive practice is any type of support or practice which limits the rights and/or movements of a person living with disability.

If you were able to participate in this important process, thank you for your time. Feedback received has helped inform the policy direction ahead of the bill Disability Inclusion (Restrictive Practices – NDIS) Amendment Bill 2021, being introduced to the South Australian Parliament.

The proposed changes aim to ensure restrictive practices – such as restraint and seclusion – are used only as a last resort and in accordance with individual behaviour support plans. Additionally, the bill proposes the creation of a new restrictive practices authorisation unit that will work with and educate NDIS providers.

The bill was introduced into Parliament on 4 March 2021, where it continues through the Parliamentary process. A summary of the process is also being kept up to date on our restrictive practices legislation web page.

People's Advocacy Group visits SA Parliament

The People’s Advocacy Group, an influential group consisting of NDIS participants supported within DHS Accommodation Services, had the opportunity in early February to tour South Australia’s Parliament House along with the Minister for Human Services.

The group was formed more than a year ago to allow the people we support to give feedback about how they, their friends and housemates are supported to live in their own group homes throughout the community.

Since experiencing the life-changing transition from institutional care to community living, group members have developed a common passion for improving the lives of people living with a disability and influencing their lives for the better.

Participants have since undertaken self-advocacy training, provided feedback on the development of a Customer Charter and influenced policies affecting the daily lives of more than 500 people with disability who are supported by Accommodation Services.

The tour of Parliament House was one of several get-togethers for the group during the first quarter of the year.

As well as exploring the iconic building and chambers where key decisions affecting South Australians are made, group members had an opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences with the Minister before enjoying light refreshments.

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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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 9 April 2021

COVID-19 vaccinations


Accommodation Services is providing an update on its rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations to the people we support.

This follows Federal Government acceptance of recommendations overnight that, in Australia, Pfizer is preferred over AstraZeneca for adults aged under 50 years who have not already received a vaccination.

The people we support in Adelaide and Kadina, who consented to a COVID-19 vaccination, have already received the AstraZeneca vaccine with no adverse reactions*.

Current vaccine rollout plans
In close consultation with SA Health, the Department of Human Services (DHS) has decided at this time that in keeping with new advice the people we support who have received their first dose of AstraZeneca without report of adverse reactions will be offered their second dose as planned from DHS.

New vaccine recommendations
The Australian Government has accepted recommendations following a review of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The recommendations and reasoning are detailed in ATAGI’s statement about COVID-19 vaccines. At the current time, ATAGI recommends:

  • The Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine is preferred over AstraZeneca for adults aged under 50 years.
  • AstraZeneca vaccine can be used in adults aged under 50 years where the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for that individual and who has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits.
  • People who have had the first dose of AstraZeneca without any serious adverse effects can be given the second dose, including adults under 50 years.

DHS will continue to monitor updates and keep you informed. If you would like to speak to anyone about an individual’s circumstances, please email AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au or phone 1800 952 962 (dial 3). The National Vaccine Helpline is also available on 1800 020 080.

*Mount Gamier families, please note that the people we support there were administered Pfizer’s (Comirnaty) vaccine from SA Health’s stocks at the local Mount Gambier Hospital vaccination hub.


Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 30 March 2021

COVID-19 Update – Greater Brisbane visitor restrictions

The South Australian Government has announced a hard border closure with restricted zones in Queensland, due to a number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Greater Brisbane.

This means that people who have been in a declared Queensland restricted zone in the past 14 days cannot visit South Australia’s disability care or residential aged care facilities for specific lengths of time.

You can find out more information about these restrictions with the latest Emergency Management (Cross Border Travel - General) (COVID-19) Direction and its Cross Border Travel – Associated Direction No 1 listing affected zones is available on the South Australian Government COVID website.

During this period, Accommodation Services staff will be asking all visitors to homes and Northgate Aged Care Facility about recent travel and whether that has included travelling from Queensland’s restricted zone.

Queensland restricted zone currently includes cities of Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Redland and the Moreton Bay Region.

South Australia’s COVID-19 travel restrictions web page may also be of interest along with latest information for travellers on the SA Health contact tracing page.

Questions and feedback

If you have any questions about accessing an Accommodation Services home or the Northgate Aged Care Facility, phone 1800 952 962 (and press 3).

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 24 March 2021

The recording of the online forum held on 19 March 2021 for families and guardians of the people we support in Accommodation Services is available on this page.

This follows information about the introduction of service agreements and the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Questions and feedback

If you have any questions or feedback, you can use the following options:

COVID-19 vaccinations

Speak with the Team Supervisor overseeing your family member or friend’s home or email DHSCOVID19Vac@sa.gov.au.

Service Agreements

Speak with your family member or friend’s Service Coordinator or phone 1800 952 962 (press 3).

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Accommodation Services online forum for family and friends – Friday 19 March 2021

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 5 March 2021

Last week we contacted Accommodation Services families about COVID-19 vaccinations and our introduction of Service Agreements this month.

A Family Forum was held on Monday 2 March 2021. You can view the recording of the Family Forum.

Update on COVID-19 vaccinations

Our vaccination roll out will start as soon as next week with details for various groups as follows:

A signed consent form is required to receive the vaccination.

You can find this consent form on this SA Health vaccination page. Team supervisors will be following up with families about these consent forms.

Our service is also asking GPs overseeing medical care of the people we support to advise if anyone should not receive the vaccine or if more information should be provided to those administering it. If concerns are raised, we will, of course, keep people informed.

Two doses of vaccine are needed to receive the best protection. Information about the second vaccine will be provided after the first vaccination. One consent form will cover both doses. You can read information for people with disability about COVID-19 vaccines from the Department of Health.

The COVID-19 vaccinations reduce the community’s risk of COVID-19 outbreaks and will help to reduce symptoms and side-effects of COVID-19 for anyone exposed.

We strongly encourage you to get vaccinated, as COVID-19 can cause serious ongoing health conditions, and sometimes death.

Vaccination is a safe and effective way of protecting you and your family.

SA Health information on COVID-19 vaccination

Questions about vaccinations

Please speak with the Team Supervisor overseeing your loved one’s home. If they are unable to assist they will find the best person who can.

Alternatively, you can email DHSCOVID19Vac@sa.gov.au. Thank you for your assistance.

Update on Service Agreements

NDIS participants have begun receiving individualised Service Agreement this week, either by email or mail, depending on the contact information you gave us. Within the next two weeks, Service Coordinators will be in contact to finalise these arrangements.

If you have any questions about the Service Agreement, please phone 1800 952 962 (press 3).

Next Family Forum

We know that there will be more information to provide you with about COVID-19 vaccinations and the introduction of Service Agreements, so as previously advised, we are holding a second online Family Forum in March 2021. We look forward to speaking with you.

Friday 19 March 2021 from 1.00 pm to 2.00 pm
Link: Zoom link – 19 March

You should have received your Passcode for this session by letter or email. If you do not have your Passcode, phone 1800 952 962 (press 3).

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 the DHS website or phone 1800 952 962.

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Accommodation Services online forum for family and friends – Monday 2 March 2021

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Accommodation Services Family Forums – March 2021

COVID-19 vaccinations and consent

It’s likely you have heard a lot in the media recently about COVID-19 vaccines. The disability sector is being provided with priority access to vaccinations and the people we support in Accommodation Services will be some of the first people in our community to be offered vaccinations.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has been working with the Australian Government and SA Health, and will shortly be offering vaccinations to the people we support in Accommodation Services and our frontline staff.

Late March vaccinations will be offered to the people we support in Accommodation Services from SA Health approved sites – Highgate Park, Northgate Aged Care (for its residents only) and where a person cannot be moved from their home, at that home.

These vaccines will be administered by our own Registered Nurses who are undertaking specific training to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

Arrangements will be made for the people we support in Mount Gambier and Kadina through their Local Health Networks.

Consent by the people we support and/or their legal representative, will be required, before a vaccination can be delivered. We are yet to be informed which vaccine we will be supplied with.

You will be contacted by Accommodation Services shortly about the vaccination process and we have a few weeks to arrange consent for the vaccine to be administered to your loved one.

During this time more specific details will be compiled so we can share further information during an Accommodation Services Family Forum scheduled early March.

In the meantime, useful information is available on the SA Health COVID-19 Vaccine webpage, including:

You can phone the National Vaccine Helpline on 1800 020 080.

Service agreements

Accommodation Services will soon be introducing service agreements for the people we support, to continue to provide National Disability Insurance (NDIS) funded support services.

A service agreement is a required document under the NDIS and allows the person we support and yourself to have a clear understanding of what services and supports will be delivered, as well as detailing rights and responsibilities.

You may be familiar with service agreements, through other NDIS providers.

A sample Accommodation Services Service Agreement and sample Service Agreement Terms and Conditions document have been attached to this message, to provide you with an understanding of what to expect.

Individual service agreements are an important element of delivering a high quality, safe service for the people we support. They are being introduced in 2021 as Accommodation Services finalises its NDIS registration.

The service provided by Accommodation Services is not changing. Becoming an NDIS provider means we can continue to deliver our service to your family member or friend into the future.

Over the next few weeks, you will receive an individualised service agreement for you to consider and approve on your family member’s behalf. If required, you can contact your Service Coordinator to ask questions and explain the process to consent to the Service Agreement.

A new service agreement is needed with every NDIS plan. In future years, when a new NDIS plan is started, a new service agreement will accompany this document, streamlining the process.

If you have any questions about Service Agreements prior to the Family Forums, detailed below, you can phone us on 1800 952 962 (please press 3).

Client fees

As we have previously indicated we have a lot of fee arrangements for people we support in Accommodation Services. As part of moving to a NDIS provider we will be consulting with you mid-2021 on changes to our fee arrangements to have a consistent approach across the service and for all people we support.

The proposal will include two fee options that will need to be determined by each household and include:

  1. A set percentage of the disability support pension for all board arrangements covering things like food, utilities, communal furniture and whitegoods and general household consumables but excluding personal costs such as pharmaceuticals and clothing.
  2. A user pays where a person will purchase and pay for costs they expend, including contributing to communal items (for example, utilities, furniture and whitegoods). Many people in our service already use this option.

Further information about this will be provided in mid-2021, including a more detailed breakdown of inclusions and exclusions, for consultation with you.

Zoom meetings

Please join us in March for Family Forums via Zoom, to provide further information about COVID-19 vaccinations and the introduction of Service Agreements.

Tuesday 2 March 2021 from 9.00 am to 10.00 am
Zoom link – 2 March (your passcode for this session was sent to you by letter or email)

Friday 19 March 2021 from 1.00 pm to 2.00 pm
Zoom link – 19 March (your passcode for this session was sent to you by letter or email)

Lost your passcode? Email AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au

Recordings will be posted at here after each session. Email questions to AccomFeedback@sa.gov.au

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Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at 29 January 2021

Welcome to our first Accommodation Services Family and Friends e-newsletter for 2021.

We hope you have had a relaxing and safe start to 2021. It is sure to be another busy year, and while we hope it is not as disrupted as 2020, we remain vigilant and ready to respond to any future coronavirus cases in South Australia.

In line with our continuous improvement approach, a key focus of service delivery in 2021 is embedding the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework (framework) into our daily practice.

We are building on our significant work during 2020 to finalise the NDIS registration of Accommodation Services, ensuring we continue to pursue high quality, safe services for the people we support. Bringing a consistency of practice across the service and having a zero tolerance to the abuse and neglect of people with disability are important aspects of delivering the framework.

Ultimately, we are working to provide your family member or friend with greater ability to exercise choice and control of their support and lives.

We will keep you informed as this work continues.

Update on court appearance of a disability worker

Following last September’s court appearance of a disability worker, we promised to keep you updated on developments.

The former worker appeared in court again on Wednesday (27 January 2021). He did not enter a plea to sexual assault offences. The next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday 21 April 2021.

DHS has offered support to those directly affected by this case. Our ongoing priority remains the safety and wellbeing of the people we support, including your family member or friend. We always take any allegation of misconduct extremely seriously and are committed to our Zero Tolerance to the Abuse and Neglect of People with Disability Strategy.

Questions or concerns

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 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.

Zero tolerance

Accommodation Services has been busy implementing its Zero Tolerance to Abuse and Neglect of People with Disability Strategy (PDF 504.0 KB).

The Zero Tolerance initiative is built on an evidence-based framework that provides:

  • Understanding of organisations to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect and violence towards people with disability
  • Clear messages that abuse, neglect and violence is never acceptable and should never be ignored
  • A way of thinking about abuse as a human rights issue, not a disability issue
  • Organisational and personal commitment to act on anything that:
    • makes a person with disability be or feel unsafe.
    • doesn’t support a person’s human rights.
    • we could be doing better.

To date we have diligently updated all relevant policies and procedures to ensure we have appropriate systems in place to support the Zero Tolerance Strategy.

The education and training of staff at all levels has commenced and continues to develop understanding of our individual responsibilities in preventing and responding to abuse.

Service Agreements

The people we support, or their guardian, will soon have more clear information about the services we will deliver and their rights, as Accommodation Services introduces agreements for the services it delivers to each person. This is a requirement of the NDIS registration.

You will likely be aware of Service Agreements through arrangements with other NDIS providers who deliver additional services to your family member or friend. NDIS participants can choose who provides their services and supports before committing to these with signed agreements.

A Service Agreement is an important document that shows what services we agree to provide and makes sure the supports are delivered, as well as detailing rights and responsibilities. A new Service Agreement with NDIS providers is needed every plan. This helps include different things if needs change for the people we support.

Our Service Coordinators will be working with the people we support and their trusted representative to assist with the Service Agreement process. Our Service Coordinators can help finalise the Service Agreement if your family member or friend chooses to continue being supported by Accommodation Services.

Please speak directly to your family member’s or friend’s Service Coordinator if you have questions.

If your family member or friend is funded through a Continuity of Support (CoS) package, they will continue to be supported by Accommodation Services in the future.

Team Supervisor Training

Team Supervisors, who are now based in the homes of the people we support and oversee daily activities of Disability Services Officers, are undergoing a new training program co-ordinated by the Accommodation Services Training Unit.

The training covers a range of themes, including NDIS, human rights and zero tolerance, leadership styles and self-awareness, building effective teams and the art of communication.

Several sessions in December and January accommodated more than 60 participants for their first day of training. Day two of the training will be delivered shortly and more dates are anticipated for additional Team Supervisors throughout 2021.

Restrictive Practices

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has been consulting about draft legislative changes to ensure restrictive practices - such as restraint and seclusion - are used only as a last resort and in accordance with individual behaviour support plans.

Responses to consultation via the YourSAy website will inform the policy direction ahead of proposed laws being introduced to Parliament this year.

SACID Workshops

Parents and carers of people with intellectual disability are invited to register for a variety of workshops about relationships and protective behaviours, brought to you by the SA Council on Intellectual Disability (SACID).

They’re being held in February in Smithfield Plains. Bookings are essential.

Phone 8352 4416
Email admin@sacid.org.au.

NDIS consultation

The NDIS is inviting feedback about how it plans to improve access, planning and plan flexibility.

If you would like to have your say about the consultation papers it has released to try and make sure the NDIS works for everyone, you can visit the NDIS have your say web page to find more information. Feedback closes 23 February 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 the DHS website or phone 1800 952 962.

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 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 : 08 Jun 2021

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