09.04.20

Hearth COVID–19 Action Plan Update (2)

9/4/20

Hearth COVID – 19 Action Plan Update (2)

Welcome to the Hearth team action plan update. We continue to adapt and respond to the impact of COVID-19. The following updates from our plan may be of interest:

1. Business Continuity

We are continuing to deliver the essential service of disability support and are taking every step to maintain the safety of our participants and support workers.

1 a). Easter Holidays

Please note that Easter Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday are all public holidays and therefore our Relationship Managers will be taking a well-deserved break. If you need assistance during the Easter Break, please do not hesitate to contact us on 1800 894 013 and our on-call team will be able to assist you.

1 b). Home Schooling

The most significant change this week has been the announcement that “most Victorian students will be educated from home when Term 2 starts next week to ensure the physical distancing will help slow the spread of coronavirus”.

“All Victorian government primary, secondary and special schools will move to remote and flexible learning and teaching.”

“All children who can learn at home must learn from home – with exceptions only in extremely limited circumstances.”

“Victorian government schools will recommence on Tuesday 14 April with a pupil-free day, with students to begin classes on Wednesday 15 April. These new arrangements will remain in place for the duration of Term 2 and will then be reviewed”.

We cover off the impact of this decision and the full implications of this action in section 6 of this update.

2. Extra Support

Great news in addition to the 1,800 masks we purchased, we have been able to purchase and receive delivery of 40,000 Nitrile gloves! We anticipate that the1,000 bottles of hand sanitiser we have ordered will arrive within the next 3 weeks.

We will distribute the masks, sanitiser, gloves and sign in a care pack as soon as the hand sanitiser arrives.

If you urgently need some surgical masks or Nitrile gloves please contact us on info@hearthaustralia.com.au and we will organise immediate delivery.

3. Contingency Planning

Hearth is continuing to build a contingent workforce as a matter of urgency, increasing recruitment of support workers to support the need to have back-up supports matched across our participants.

4. Community Access

Federal and State Governments have announced several measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. In Victoria “Stage 3 restrictions came into effect at 11:59 pm Monday 30 March 2020. They will be in place for 4 weeks and reviewed as required”. These (stage three) measures in Victoria do not constitute a lock-down like those seen in Europe.

For full details please refer to the Victorian Government “Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions Victoria Details on stage 3 restrictions in Victoria to slow the spread of coronavirus”, website page: https://www.vic.gov.au/coronavirusresponse

5. In Home Support Resources

One of the outcomes of “remote learning” is the need to spend more time at home. So, how do you create an educational and fun activity plan with the extra time inside the home?

The Hearth Team has developed a list of specific “COVID-19 Digital Activities” from around the world which may assist to create an activity plan which helps manage the time inside the home.

If you find a resource that you think is worth sharing please do not hesitate to share it with us and we will load it onto our website. Please email any suggestions to info@hearthaustralia.com.au

6. NDIS Funding for Home Schooling

In response to the Victorian Governments announcement “All Victorian government primary, secondary and special schools will move to remote and flexible learning and teaching, some participants will require additional support to assist “home schooling”. If you require additional Support Worker resource, please do not hesitate to contact your Relationship Manager who can organise the additional support.

The direct impact of additional support is additional cost which hasn’t been factored into the participants approved NDIS plan and funding.

I wanted to share a summary of the approach Hearth is taking to deal with the variations of plan funding in response to home schooling. The changes will have significant impacts on many participant’s plans and cause additional stress / anxiety.

We have also informed the NDIA Chief Executive Officer of the following approach and await his response.

The principles of our approach to manage any funding variation include: –

KEY PRINCIPLES:

  • Reasonable & necessary support maintained i.e.
    • The support from group-based activities is shifted to individualized support in the home
  • Clear audit trail of support i.e.
    • Costed by shift by day by month
    • First variation to the end April, then month by month
  • Clear communication with the Support Coordinators & Plan Managers
  • Support Coordinators to engage the NDIA to manage the review process
  • Careful monitoring of the funding “burn rate” to inform the timing of the review by all to ensure approved funding is not exceeded

Also, for your information I have attached our “HEARTH COVID-19 ADDITIONAL FUNDING INTERNAL PROCESS”

Justin Scanlon | Hearth Support Services