15.05.20

Hearth COVID – 19 Action Plan – Update (3)

Welcome to the Hearth Teams Action Plan Update (3).

The Victorian Premiers announcement on May 11 was indeed good news i.e. “Over the past two weeks, we’ve tested more than 160,000 Victorians for coronavirus. The job is not done yet – and that size and scale of testing will continue to be a big part of our response in the weeks and months to come. But because of that initial data, we’ve been able to get a better understanding of the way the virus is moving through our community.”

“Today – thanks to the efforts of Victorians – I can announce our cautious next steps.”

At the same time, it was a stark reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is unfortunately not over! Our assumption is that COVID-19 will impact the Victorian community for at least another 12 months.

Consequently, we continue to take COVID-19 extremely seriously and we continue to adapt and develop our Action Plan accordingly to respond to the impact of COVID-19 as does the rest of the Victorian community.

The following updates from our plan may be of interest:

Back to School

The most significant change this week has been the Victorian Premiers announcement on May 12 that, “from Tuesday 26 May, all Prep, Grade 1 and Grade 2 students, specialist school students, as well as VCE and VCAL students will return to on-site learning at government schools.”

“Students in the broader year 3 to 10 cohort will continue to learn remotely until Tuesday 9 June.

If you need to modify your Support Worker schedule, please do not hesitate to contact your Relationship Manager who can facilitate any changes.

NDIS Funding for Home Schooling

In response to the Victorian Premiers previous announcement on the April 7 “All Victorian government primary, secondary and special schools will move to remote and flexible learning and teaching”, some participants required additional support to assist “home schooling”.

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

We covered the Hearth approach to dealing with this variation to plan in detail in our previous COVID-19 Action Plan Update (2) including our downloadable “Additional Funding for COVID-19 Process”.

If you would like to discuss your “additional program cost”, please do not hesitate to contact your Relationship Manager who can assist.

Hearth Business Continuity – With Increased Hygiene Initiatives

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. We are taking several new measures to assist this endeavour including.

a) Working from Home

Since March 16, 80 % of Hearth Head Office staff have been working at home. We are currently formulating a longer-term plan and associated policies to formalise “working from home” into the way we operate.

b) Voluntary use of the Australian Governments COVIDSafe app

We are encouraging all Hearth employees to download the COVIDSafe app so the Health Authorities “can find and contain outbreaks quickly”. Downloading the new COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary.

c) Voluntary Flu vaccination for all staff

We are encouraging and subsidising all Hearth employees to be vaccinated against the 2020 influenza

d) Physical distancing and hygiene

As more employees return to work, we continue to practice physical distancing and strict hygiene measures continue to be observed. The following provides a summary of the key steps we are taking.

  • maintaining distance of 1.5 metres between adults where possible, maximising air flow, using outdoor spaces and staggering break times.
  • Where possible we hold all meetings remotely via Zoom
  • Hygiene requirements including handwashing continue to be practiced.
  • Any member of staff who is unwell must not go to work – (For full details refer to “Hearth Employee Illness Protocol” below)

Extra Support – PPE

Great news, we received our final delivery of PPE last week, so our team has been able to deliver our Hearth Care Packs this week!

Each Hearth care pack contains.

•            1 x pack (100) of small Ansell nitrile gloves

•            1 x pack (100) of medium Ansell nitrile gloves

•            20 x Ultra shield Alcohol towelettes

•            7 x Med-con Surgical Face Masks

•            2 x 60ml Hand Sanitiser    

•            1 x COVID-19 Front Door Sign

We do have limited supplies of masks, nitrile gloves and hand sanitiser remaining. If you urgently need some PPE please contact us on info@hearthaustalia.com.au and we will do our best to assist.

Community Access

As per the Victorian Premiers announcement on May 11, “From 11:59pm this Tuesday 12, there’s now a fifth reason to leave home: visiting friends and family – with a maximum gathering of up to ten outdoors and having up to five visitors in your home.”

He went on to say that “More of the outdoor recreational activities that so many Victorians have been missing will also be allowed: walking groups, fishing, hiking – and yes, even a game of golf. These activities will be subject to physical distancing to help keep people safe.”

If you would like the full and specific details, please download “The Restricted activity directions (No 7)” below.

If these announcements change your personal circumstances and you need to modify your Support Worker schedule, please do not hesitate to contact your Relationship Manager who can facilitate any changes.

In Home Support Resources

One of the outcomes of COVID-19 is the need to spend more time at home. Consequently, as previously mentioned 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

As always, we are here to help if you need any kind of assistance please do not hesitate to contact me or any member of the Hearth Team and we will do our best to assist.

Warm Regards

Justin Scanlon