Department of Human Services

Start of main content.

Information for families and friends of the people we support Thursday 19 May 2022

Information for families and friends of the people we support

Update as at Thursday 19 May 2022

Welcome to the DHS Disability Services family and friends newsletter.

Over the past few months, it has been great to see our clients back out and engaging with the community, with reducing restrictions. We know that activities and social connections are so important to each of the people we support and we’ve really enjoyed being able to feel a bit more normal again. We hope you enjoy reading their stories below.

Last month we welcomed a new Minister for Human Services, the Hon Nat Cook MP. Minister Cook has worked as a Registered Nurse for nearly 30 years, working in brain injury and rehabilitation, as well as intensive care. In fact, like a number of DHS Disability Services staff, she also worked at Highgate Park back when it was known as the Julia Farr Centre. We welcome Minister Cook and look forward to working with her in the coming months and years. Find out more about Minister Cook.

This newsletter contains several important updates about changes and improvements to our service, as we transition to a fully registered NDIS provider by July 2023. This update includes:

  • Client fees update
  • About the NDIS and upcoming audits
  • Upcoming client information reviews
  • New Restrictive Practices Authorisation scheme
  • COVID-19 and Influenza Updates
  • Individual Support Packages for DSOA Clients
  • Information about the Community Visitor Scheme.

If you have any further questions, please reach out to your Service Coordinator or Team leader, or use the contact details at the end of this email.

Joe Young Executive
Director, Disability Services

Muriel Kirkby
Director, Accommodation Services

Client Fees update

In March we wrote to families and guardians of our clients to provide you with the outcomes of the consultation process we undertook in 2021 about how clients pay for their everyday living expenses.

From the consultation process, we know that changes proposed to the way that pharmacy expenses and utilities are paid for represented some concerns for those who have benefited from subsidy of these two types of expenses in the past. As there was not consistency for this type of subsidy for all clients and it is not reflective of how everyday living expenses are

paid by clients of non-government delivered Supported Independent Living services - there was clear support for making Client Fees simpler and fairer for everyone.

Introduction of the new Client Fees Schedule is planned for 2022 and we will be in contact with you shortly with further information about the introduction date and what this means for your family member or friend.

If you have any questions about Client Fees before that date, please phone us on 1800 952 962.

About the NDIS

While the NDIS was introduced across Australia in 2016, DHS Disability Services has been operating under a different agreement with the Australian Government, called In-Kind, to continue service delivery on a transitional basis. This funding agreement concludes on 30 June 2023 and, to continue service delivery after this date, DHS must be a fully registered NDIS provider and transform its operations to deliver services in budget.

Understanding the NDIS is important for your ability to advocate for your family member or friend – for example: what is the NDIS, how does it fund Australians living with disability, and how can family and guardians contact and work with the NDIS. We will include NDIS information in this newsletter over the period of change for the service as well as links that we think will be helpful for families and guardians of our clients.

While many of you are already very familiar with the NDIS, we will start this series with a snapshot of the basics as a refresher for everyone.

The following NDIS videos provide a great background in how the scheme has been set-up:

The NDIS website provides information to help you:

For future updates, you are welcome to provide feedback about what NDIS topics that you would like to know more about.

Please email dhsdisabilityservices@sa.gov.au or phone us on 1800 952 962.

Upcoming client information updates

As we work towards being a fully registered NDIS provider by 1 July 2023, a review and update of the information held by the service for each of our clients has begun.

Client information that we have, and the systems used to hold this information, need to be reviewed and updated to reflect all current support and care requirements, documented restrictive practices if they are used and primary contact and guardian contact information. The review also offers the opportunity to make sure that all information we hold for clients is up to date.

You may be contacted to confirm details and preferences that are documented in our systems. We appreciate your help with this process.

Upcoming NDIS Specialist Behaviour Support Audit

Last year we completed our first milestone in NDIS registration process by successfully passing the audit against core modules, which included community participation, community nursing and transport.

We will soon begin a 2-stage process to be audited for Specialist Behaviour Support and the implementation of behaviour support plans. This is an important area of service delivery for DHS Disability Services and the many clients who we work with in a Specialist Behaviour Support approach.

We are in a pre-audit phase at the moment and are waiting on further information from the organisation undertaking the audit, about scope and timelines. When we know more, we will share with you whether, clients, families, and guardians will be a part of Stage 2 of this audit process.

New Restrictive Practices Authorisation Scheme

A restrictive practice is any practice that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person with disability, with the primary purpose of protecting the person or others from harm.

From 30 May 2022, NDIS service providers who use regulated restrictive practices must use the Restrictive Practices Authorisation scheme.

The Restrictive Practices Authorisation scheme sets out the roles, processes, and criteria for the authorisation of regulated restrictive practices by registered NDIS service providers for NDIS participants in South Australia.

The scheme promotes accountability, transparency, and visibility of restrictive practices to reduce their use. More information about the introduction of this scheme can be found at the Restrictive Practices pages on the SA.gov.au website.

COVID-19 Update

Close contacts

As you will know, people who are close contacts of a COVID-19 case no longer need to quarantine for 7 days. However, restrictions still apply in high-risk settings, such as DHS Disability Services.

In order to protect the people we support and our workforce, people who have been exposed to COVID-19 are generally not permitted to return to a high-risk setting during their close contact period. Some exceptions can be approved for staff, if it is deemed essential for the care of the people we support.

More details:

Face masks

It is still mandatory for all people to wear N95 masks in high-risk settings, including DHS Disability Services homes. Our staff continue to wear face masks and shields at all times.

Face mask information from SA Health

When you visit, please continue to physically distance, practice good hand hygiene, user QR codes to check-in where they are displayed.

Please do not attend if you have symptoms of any kind.

Additional boosters

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has made recommendations on a winter booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

An additional booster is recommended for people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 who have already had their first booster dose more than 4 months ago.

This means that the majority of people supported by DHS Disability Services are now eligible and recommended to receive their winter booster dose. We have commenced planning this week for clients to be able to receive this dose in their homes, and will be in contact with guardians again to obtain consent, as we have done with previous doses.

For those who are not at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, a two-dose primary course and a booster dose provides very good and lasting protection against COVID-19. Protection against severe disease is high and looks to wane slowly over time. For now, the larger part of the Australian population are not recommended to receive any further doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

We encourage all visitors to homes to remain up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, as recommended by ATAGI. If you have yet to receive a vaccination or booster, please find a clinic and book a vaccination at healthdirect.gov.au.

Flu Vaccines

Influenza, or the flu, is a very contagious infection. Although it can be a mild disease, it can also cause very serious illness in otherwise healthy people.

Vaccination against the flu remains important in 2022. While increased hand washing and social distancing has helped limit the spread of flu viruses across 2020 and 2021, a resurgence of influenza activity is expected as public health and social measures continue to be relaxed.

Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect you and your family from serious disease caused by influenza. We encourage all staff and visitors to homes to receive their vaccination as soon as possible.

Book a Flu vaccine online today.

Clients of DHS Disability Services will be supported to access flu vaccinations through their GP, as in previous years.

Individual Support Packages for participants of Disability Support for Older Australians (DSOA)

Family and guardians of people supported by 'Disability Support for Older Australians' funding are being contacted by Service Coordinators about the introduction of Individual Support Packages (ISPs).

The Disability Support for Older Australians program supports older people with disability who previously received specialist disability services from the Continuity of Support program, but are not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The Individual Support Package (ISP) outlines the information about:

  • the client
  • their goals
  • and the funded supports they are entitled to under Disability Support for Older Australians funding.

DHS Disability Services is requesting that ISPs are signed and returned by Tuesday 24 May 2022.

If you have not yet received this information, please contact your Service Coordinator or use the contact details at the bottom of this newsletter.

South Australian Community Visitor Scheme

The SA Community Visitor Scheme aims to protect the rights of people living with disability or mental illness who are:

  • receiving care in a mental health treatment centre
  • attending a community mental health facility
  • living in state-run disability accommodation
  • participants in the NDIS who are under guardianship of the Public Advocate.

The Principal Community Visitor and Community Visitors are independent statutory appointments.

Community Visitors visit and inspect facilities and provide advocacy and support to the people in these facilities. Clients, carers and family members can speak freely to them, knowing they are not attached to service providers. You will be informed of when the Community Visitors are due to visit the home of your loved one, so you can be there too and speak with them if you wish.

Human Services Minister, the Hon Nat Cook MP, recently announced a $1 million investment into expanding the important role of the Community Visitor Scheme to look at how people who receive disability support services in private homes or in non-government provided supportive environments could also be included in the scope of the work of the CVS.

The Community Visitor Scheme can also be contacted by phoning 1800 606 302, or via email at cvs@sa.gov.au.

The people we support

Community participation is such an important part of the service delivered by DHS Disability Services — allowing clients to live the life they choose. Here are a few client experiences from recent weeks.

Daniel and his team enjoyed the sun and sand at Moonta Bay. Daniel enjoyed walking on the beach, especially the sensation of sand touching his skin. He also enjoyed a nice meal on the beach, bought from a local beachside café.

Brian continued his ANZAC day tradition of watching the parade along the Adelaide city streets. He told staff he really enjoyed this year’s parade. One of his highlights was counting each of the different divisions, with his final tally being more than 50. Brian is also an avid animal lover and particularly liked seeing the mounted cavalry units trot by.

Roy went to Seafire on the Marina to get a refund for a Tasting Australia event he missed due to isolating. While there the chef suggested he have a meal and try some of what was on offer for the night he missed — Roy says he is blown away at how good his meal tasted!

Garry was supported to write a letter to his local council about a footpath that was not safe for wheelchair users. While Garry was happy to press send on the email, he also wanted to give his letter and photos to the council in person. On his way there, he noticed that there were already works proceeding on the footpath. He is impressed that writing to the council works!

Wayne and TJ attended the launch of the DHS Reconciliation Action Plan launch on the banks of the Karrawirra Parri (the River Torrens). Both Wayne and TJ met our new Minister, the Hon Nat Cook with great enthusiasm. TJ found out that Minister Cook is also a big Metallica fan.

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.

Back to top

Page last updated : 09 Sep 2022

This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2021 DHS .[sm v5.5.6.6]