Protecting our customers and staff - Coronavirus (COVID - 19)
Friday 20th March 2020
Dear customers, families, friends and industry partners
The global effort to slow the spread and minimise the prevalence of COVID-19 is already underway, and it is presenting some unique challenges for service providers who aim to provide care for the more vulnerable amongst us. Amid the current uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the wellbeing of our customers, their families, our staff and the many stakeholders we collaborate with daily remains our priority.
ConnectAbility’s only concern is to maintain the health, safety and well-being of the people who we are entrusted to provide support to and the staff group employed to provide the supports. This remains front and centre and is our main aim. I have identified three key areas that I want to address with you.
Support of our customers
Our teams are fully aware of the seriousness of the situation. We will not be complacent. We are going to ensure that our staff can do their job fully aware of any potential risk to them and how we are all working together to minimise those.
In the past week, we developed a protocol designed to protect anyone in any of the programs – clients, participants or staff, and the community at large. The protocol is fluid and can change very quickly. We have learnt that communication or protocol can change by the hour and we are following all protocol and guidelines established by the Australian Government.
All of our customers are being educated and provided the necessary PPE resources and easy read visual resources on the topic of effective hand washing, and hygiene in general. Where a customer is unable to maintain this effectively staff are physically assisting customers to maintain excellent hygiene with regular hand sanitisation or hand washing.
We do not want, at this stage, the situation to affect customer’s participation in the community. It is really beneficial. However, we will weigh up each situation individually and of course follow all official guidelines.
Continuity of care
Continuity of care is very important to our customers and their families/carers. As a team, we looked at how to best respond to the crisis whilst ensuring, as much as possible, that continuity.
As the number of people affected by Covid-19 grows in NSW and the Hunter Region, it is crucial that we address the issue head on now in order to 1) mitigate risks of contagion, and
2) ensure that the care of customers remains in place.
At present our Operations remain fully in place with all staff still remaining at work and performing their roles and duties. We have ceased any non-essential work travel, attendance at industry meetings, full staff meetings, non-essential staff training.
Community and centre based supports remain in place. All staff clearly understand the community and social distancing guidelines established by the Australian Government and are practicing this and educating customers to practice this during support and service provision
Our staff have been trained and continue to be trained in proper hygiene practice through the official channels.
We are strongly following Department of Health guidelines and are reinforcing the message and importance of self-isolation. All of our staff are encouraged to seek advice and self-isolate if they are feeling the symptoms as outlined in official documentation.
Engagement of Staff
In critical times, we get reminded that staff are our biggest assets. They have always been, now more than ever. They work with our customers often in very challenging situations. I cannot stress enough the importance that we attach to their contributions, to their participation, to their input.
That’s why we are ensuring there is a two-way flow of information. As well as the protocol mentioned earlier, we have established communication pathways for ConnectAbility staff, where they can ask questions, contribute, argue a case, etc.
It is increasingly likely that Covid-19 will catch up with our young people and/or our staff. If it does, we commit to ensure that we deal with the situation in a respectful and considerate way, and you can expect honesty, clarity and transparency from us. We will continue to keep you up to date with developments throughout this period.
We have established a staff register where staff have travelled overseas and are required to self-isolate and any staff that have self-isolated due to illness. At this point in time ConnectAbility has no staff or customer with confirmed case of COVID-19 or have been in contact with any person diagnosed with COVID-19
On a personal note, I wish each one of you all the best. These are difficult times. Rest assured that this situation will be handled with the same quality and commitment of care that we dedicate to all our matters.
ConnectAbility’s Golf Day is this Friday proudly supported by Mick O’ Shea from Unity Kitchens – our major sponsor. The day will be a fun way for our corporate and community supporters to raise much needed fundraising dollars to assist ConnectAbility purchase resources such as technology and transport opportunities.
Mick is joined by the following businesses who are committed to making a difference in our community and seeing their investment make a direct impact upon the lives of our customers. A huge thank you to all our HEROS.
Major Sponsor – Mick O’Shea – Unity Kitchens
Drink Cart Sponsor – Jock Whyte – Newcastle Office Interiors
Lunch Sponsor – David Hubbard – Cinch Financial services
Golf organiser extraordinaire – Kerry Houghton – Jims Carpet Cleaning
Farrelly Construction Services
Go with the Flow Air Conditioning
Jims Carpet Cleaning
Queens Wharf Hotel
Safehands Property Management
Also to the team at Jezweb and Von from YCM photography for capturing the action and memories.
Thank you also to all the players coming along to assist ConnectAbility help achieve goals and dreams.
These businesses deserve our support – Next time you are looking for a service take a look at those who give back. And to those who have donated prizes we are so very thankful for your involvement.
We believe every person is entitled to the best life possible.
ConnectAbility Australia treat each person as an individual and understand and acknowledge that you come to us with a history and a desired future. ConnectAbility welcomes all people whatever your dreams, aspirations and goals might be.
ConnectAbility Australia want customers to enjoy a brighter and more enjoyable environment.
We create fulfilling opportunities for people and communities through our passion.
Empowering people to achieve their goals, dreams and aspirations.
The respect we have for people and community gives us the opportunity to build for today and grow for tomorrow.
Our values in practice approach supports ConnectAbility in providing a flexible, person centred and quality Family counselling services, disability services, aged care support to all our customers, families and stakeholders where the customer is the centre of our business.