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Information for families and friends of the people we support 4 June 2021

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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Page last updated : 12 Aug 2021

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