Notice to St Jude’s Disability Services Accommodation Clients, families and stakeholders

Dear Client, Family Member/Representative,

As you are probably aware, there is an outbreak of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the community. COVID-19 primarily causes respiratory illness in humans, and while all types of respiratory viruses can cause sickness in the elderly and those who are immune suppressed, COVID-19 is a particularly contagious infection that can cause severe illness and death for vulnerable people.

Disability Accommodation Homes and Residential care facilities are particularly susceptible to COVID-19 outbreaks. Even when we actively try to prevent outbreaks occurring in our accommodation settings, many external factors may lead to clients or staff contracting the COVID-19 and subsequent outbreaks.
Families and visitors play an important role in protecting their relatives from community viruses. Practical steps you can take to prevent COVID-19 from entering our accommodation homes and residential care facilities are outlined below.

Limit your visit to our accommodation sites

Due to the growing community concerns, we ask you to limit your visits to our accommodation sites. However, we are putting restrictions on visitors who;

  • Have recently been unwell, been in contact with someone who is unwell or have symptoms of respiratory illness (e.g. fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle and joint pain, or tiredness/exhaustion).
  • Have been overseas or close contact with anyone been overseas in the past 14 days.
  • Have contact with anyone tested positive to Covid-19 or awaiting test result.

Avoid spreading illnesses, if you visit any site

  • Washing your hands well with liquid soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub before and after visiting and after coughing or sneezing will help reduce the spread of disease.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow (not your bare hand) when coughing or sneezing and dispose of used tissues immediately and wash your hands.

In the event of an outbreak

  • We will put restriction on visitors in the event of an outbreak and we expect all visitors to stay away from the accommodation sites. If an important visitor has to enter into a home, we will provide adequate PPEs.
  • All residents in the house will be subject to quarantine in the event of an outbreak.
  • We will be closely working with the Department of Health and following their advice as required.

Potential service disruption

Although we are putting measures in place, our service delivery is largely dependent on support staff. In the event that staff absenteeism accelerates due to the outbreak in the community, we are expecting service disruption such as being unable to allocate regular staff, changes to shift start and finish time or even working collaboratively with other accommodation sites. We hope you understand our reasoning for other measures in the event of unexpected event.

We are implementing social distancing practices such as discouraging clients from attending crowded places and minimising contact with public.

What we are doing

  • We have a Covid-19 response team; the team is regularly monitoring the government update and making sure prevention strategies are implemented within St Jude’s.
  • Organising two weeks’ worth of essential food supplies to be kept at all accommodation houses at all times
  • Limiting staff leave approval to help ensure an adequate supply of staff in the event of an outbreak
  • Recruiting additional support staff to mitigate potential staff absenteeism.
  • Ensuring an adequate back up supply of essential PPEs and supplies such as toilet paper, tissues, etc. Ensuring staff to stay away from work if they are unwell
    Requesting staff who have returned from overseas to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to work.
    Limiting visitors to the accommodation sites

How can you help us?

Please follow our advice in this letter and inform all visitors such as family members, friends, and other service providers of our guidelines.

If you have any queries or concerns please do not hesitate to contact your coordinator, Amelia Hazelwood-Housing and Accommodation Manager or myself on 9279 4343.

Yours sincerely,
Fiona Taylor – Operations Manager